The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, August 15, 2019
Solheim Cup Europe captain's picks — Catriona Matthew interview — Must-click links in women's golf
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Team Europe Captain’s Picks
I have all sorts of fun things to talk about today, and they all have to do with Solheim Cup for a second straight week (and likely more next week once the United States team is fully locked in).
As you may already know, Team Europe is finalized. The eight who qualified by points were: Carlota Ciganda, Anne Van Dam, Caroline Hedwall, Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Azahara Munoz, Caroline Masson, Anna Nordqvist. Catriona Matthew’s captain’s picks were Suzann Pettersen, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Bronte Law and Celine Boutier.
Now, there was definitely an interesting twist in her selections for a couple of reasons. The first is that Suzann Pettersen recently had a baby and hasn’t played in a year and a half. In the few events she’s played this year, she’s missed the cut. With that in mind, she has played in nine Solheim Cups, competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics with a 10th place finish and has 15 wins on the LPGA plus two Major Championships under her belt. That is an incredibly impressive resume. Her toughness and experience is absolutely there, but seems like a somewhat risky pick considering she hasn’t played much the last 18 months.
The second twist (if you want to call it that) is that Jodi Ewart Shadoff is recovering from back surgery right now and I’m not sure many people really know about that. To my understanding, the surgery wasn’t that serious, but still one that obviously requires rehab and some time off. I’ve never had back surgery, but I’m guessing it isn’t an easy recovery. I am not sure when she went under the knife, but she wasn’t at the press conference in Scotland where Catriona Matthew officially announced her picks. As you can imagine, quite a bit of speculation around those two picks in particular.
This left out Mel Reid, who had a career-best finish at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship this year and has really found her stride since then. I’d consider her a people’s favorite as well — fiery and she’s very open about Solheim Cup being her favorite event. Matthew appointed Reid as Vice Captain to take Pettersen’s spot, so she will still be involved with the team. If someone were to get hurt or not be ready, Reid would obviously be able to step in. I actually don’t think her having to play would be out of the realm of possibilities, especially if Ewart Shadoff isn’t fully recovered.
As for the other two picks, Bronte Law and Celine Boutier, those seem to make complete sense. Both have won on the LPGA this year and have remained consistent since then. Law won the 2019 Pure Silk Championship and Boutier the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open at the start of the LPGA season. Not to mention—Law is also the second highest ranked European player in the world rankings. Although both are young (with their rookie years being in 2017), and this being their first Solheim Cup appearance, I feel like they will perform on a Solheim-caliber stage.
I’m not sure there will be this many surprises or twists for the United States captain’s picks, but I guess you never know! More coming next week.
This Week in Women’s Golf
Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! email@example.com
Maria Fassi: Dreaming of the LPGA Tour since age 7.
Meijer renewed its agreement with the LPGA and Blythefield Country Club.
Michelle Wie got married to Warriors executive Jonnie West (5 months after engagement).
The weather was BRUTAL and the Ladies Scottish Open.
Mi Jung Hur hated links golf until she won the Ladies Scottish Open. Makes sense!
Marina Alex got a pretty sweet treat in Portland: a personalized donut.
Here’s a pretty cool social round-up of reactions to Team Europe selections.
Maybe there will be some drama in Inkster’s US captain’s picks!
Golf Digest weighs in on one surprising captain’s pick for Team Europe.
Gabriela Ruffels becomes first Australian to win US Women’s Amateur title.
Long Drive champion Troy Mullins signs with PXG.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Catriona Matthew
If you weren’t plugged in over the weekend or watching the Ladies Scottish Open, there was obviously a lot of buzz around who Catriona Matthew’s four captain’s picks would be. She was on the Golf Channel broadcast on Saturday morning and shed some insight on how you decide what players to pick, what players are in form and who fits best on the team. Here are some note-worthy sounds bytes from that interview leading up to the announcement! It’s really interesting to go back and listen to this, now knowing who she decided to pick.
Q: Where do you stand with your captain’s picks right now?
Catriona Matthew: With four picks, with a couple of them I’ve had in my mind for awhile. I think the last couple come down to perhaps gut feeling, how people are playing or how they fit into the team. I’m meeting with the Vice Captains tonight and we’re going to have a discussion about it all, thrash it out and hopefully all agree on our picks. I think, especially the last one, you could probably pick a case for two people. So at the end of the day, I think it comes down to who I think fits best on the team.
Q: Of course one of your Vice Captain’s is potentially a pick. How much of it is what you feel or does Suzann Pettersen have a say in how she feels about it too?
Catriona Matthew: I think with Suzann being so experienced, you can trust her and she’ll give an honest of where she thinks her game is and if she thinks she could be in a position to help with the team. So I think with having played in many before, she knows what it takes and she knows where you need to be to play well it in. So I think she will give an honest assessment of where she is. As you said, at the end of the day, it comes down to my gut feelings to who I think will fit into the team.
Q: Suzann is back after not playing for nearly 20 months. Given the weather conditions, are you able to dismiss the scoring this week?
Catriona Matthew: Well she did get the better side of the draw. As I said, I think you have to, with someone who is as experienced as Suzann, I have to respect how she feels where her game is.
Q: Will you be relieved when it’s pick and you have your 12 that you can just focus on?
Catriona Matthew: I definitely will be relieved when they are all picked. And then you can start worrying about pairings. It’s nice to see Ann coming into some form. Obviously it’s her first year on tour. It’s always difficult getting to know the golf courses, traveling, all of that. But hopefully she’s settling down. There’s a few that wouldn’t mind playing with her in four-balls! That extra length she has over just about every other player; she has that ability to shoot those kind of scores she did yesterday.
Q: In terms of those players who don’t make it, will you speak to them as well?
Catriona Matthew: Yeah I mean that’s obviously going to be the difficult part is telling people, people who have been trying their hardest for two years to make the team, that they didn’t make it. Two or three are going to be very disappointed. I’ve been in that place myself and it’s not nice, but hopefully it drives them on to get into one of those automatic spots next time and not have to rely on a pick.
Q: You get to Captain a Solheim Cup team in your home country as well, not many people get to do that, do they?
Catriona Matthew: No and it’s a fantastic honor. When I played back in 1998, I never imagined I’d be Captain. As you say, to have a chance to do it in Scotland, is a tremendous honor and I couldn’t be prouder. Gleneagles was my first win in Scotland and my first win on the Ladies European Tour, too, you’re right.