RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Catriona Matthew’s Solheim Cup captaincy couldn’t be extra totally different from 2019 to 2021.
Six months after Matthew led her group to victory in her native Scotland at Gleneagles, successful again the cup for Europe the primary time since 2013, the world was overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, after months of watching her potential group from afar, Matthew made the journey from Europe to California to get some face time together with her gamers.
“I haven’t been able to come out as much as I would like to see the players,” Matthew advised GolfChannel.com. “I’ve been watching from home and watching the results, but I felt like I hadn’t seen the players or spoken to a lot of them in a long time, so I had to show my face.”
Matthew’s analysis course of will ramp up over the subsequent two to three months with the assistance of her vice captains – Laura Davies, Kathryn Imrie and Suzann Pettersen. But the robust selections will likely be made simpler with journeys like this one to the ANA Inspiration. Imrie is on-site this week with Matthew. The captain additionally plans to attend the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in June.
That go to will come on the heels of her first journey to Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio, which is able to host the Solheim Cup in September. The query of whether or not or what number of followers will likely be allowed on-site stays unknown. While Matthew can’t think about a Solheim Cup with out followers, she doesn’t anticipate many Europeans to have the opportunity to make the journey. But, she is hopeful even a small American contingent would make the occasion potential.
“You want people there. It’s that kind of event,” Matthew stated. “Even with normal events it’s not the same, but you can get away with more without fans. An event like Solheim, you really need some fans.”
In 2019, Matthew introduced that she can be enjoying a lowered schedule and primarily in Europe. She by no means imagined when made that announcement that she would have simply two begins in 2020. Last yr, the Ladies European Tour’s schedule was lowered to 12 occasions, which dramatically lowered the enjoying alternatives for her potential gamers to not solely earn qualifying factors but additionally aggressive reps.
“For the ones that play over here, they got in a pretty good season,” Matthew stated about her potential gamers who additionally compete on the LPGA Tour. “For the Europeans and LET, it’s been a lot tougher. With the way the virus is going in Europe at the moment, everything is just up in the air. Hopefully, it’s going to go ahead as planned.”
In order to compensate for the lowered enjoying alternatives in Europe, the group modified its qualifying criteria for 2021. The variety of gamers who qualify, by way of the LET Solheim Cup level standings, was lowered from three to two. The variety of gamers qualifying by way of the Rolex Rankings was lowered from 5 to 4. Those two extra spots will as an alternative be stuffed by way of captain’s picks, rising Matthew’s picks from 4 to six.
Is having that many captain’s picks a blessing or a curse?
“Maybe I’ll answer that one when I’m doing it,” Matthew stated laughing. “It may be too early to answer that one.”
It’s only one extra change that Matthew can have to navigate en route to returning to the Solheim Cup.