Scotland’s most successful female golf professional, Catriona Matthew, was named as the next European captain for The Solheim Cup at last night’s Team Scotland Scottish Sport Awards.
The Rt. Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland made the exciting announcement at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in front of 600 guests, included some of Scotland’s biggest sports stars such as Gavin Hastings, Katherine Grainger and Judy Murray.
The 48 year old North Berwick native will lead team Europe at the 2019 matches which will take place on the world-famous PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, on 13-15 September 2019.
The Scotland, home of golf ambassador made her ninth appearance as a player for the European team at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa last month, having served as a vice-captain to Annika Sörenstam. Selected as the travelling alternate by the captain, she stepped into the player role after Suzann Pettersen withdrew through injury and the Scot proved to be one of the stars of the team, earning three points for Europe from her four matches.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, added: “There is no-one more suited to the role of European Team Solheim Cup captain than Catriona Matthew and the fact that this will happen when the event is played in Scotland makes it an even greater honour. We plan on hosting the best and most family-orientated Solheim Cup ever in 2019 with equality, experience and innovation at its heart and no-one embodies these values more than Catriona.”
With a career total of 22 Solheim Cup points, Matthew moved up to third on the all-time points list, behind Laura Davies (25) and Sörenstam (24). She also moved into joint third with Cristie Kerr on the all-time match victories list, with 18 career match wins, behind only Davies and Sörenstam with 22 apiece.
Now Matthew is looking forward to her next challenge: leading Europe to its sixth victory over the United States of America. She said: “It’s a great honour and a dream come true to be the captain at home in Scotland. Since my first appearance in 1998, I have always loved playing in The Solheim Cup. It’s always such an incredible atmosphere and over the years that I’ve played, I’ve enjoyed it more and more. From the extremely high standard of play, to the enormous crowds, huge infrastructure and fantastic media coverage, the event just keeps getting bigger and better. Scotland will provide the perfect stage for The 2019 Solheim Cup and Gleneagles will be a terrific venue. I was lucky enough to win there in 1998 and there is nothing better than winning in your home country.”
Commenting on the appointment, The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland MSP, said: “I’m thrilled to offer my congratulations to Catriona Matthew on being named the European Team Captain for The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles. Catriona is without doubt one of Scotland’s most successful sporting icons and I am delighted that she has been given the honour of captaining the European side in her home country. I have no doubt that Catriona will prove to be an inspiration as captain as she has done throughout her playing career and serve as a role model for thousands of junior golfers, not just in Scotland but across the globe. I’m confident the people of Scotland will get fully behind Catriona’s captaincy and line the fairways of Gleneagles in support of the European team come September 2019.”
Tickets are on sale now at www.solheimcup2019.com