Catriona Matthew is captain of the Europe team at the 2019 Solheim Cup in Scotland
London (AFP) - Catriona Matthew says leading Europe to a Solheim Cup triumph on home soil would surpass winning her only major title a decade ago.
Matthew, who won the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham in 2009, captains the home side at Gleneagles this week as they seek to prevent the United States winning the biennial contest for the third straight time.
“To be a winning captain here would probably rank just above my British Open win,” the 50-year-old Scot said on Tuesday.
“I’ve always felt the Solheim Cup has been a highlight of my career when it comes around every two years.”
The United States are odds-on favourites to win the three-day event starting on Friday despite losing wildcard veteran Stacy Lewis to a back injury on Tuesday.
Lewis has been replaced in the side by rookie Ally McDonald.
“That’s tough for them. We were in the same situation last time with Suzann (Pettersen),” Matthew added.
“You feel sorry for Stacy, not to be able to play because you are injured is unlucky, but Ally McDonald is an able replacement.”
Europe vice-captain Laura Davies was surprised to see her side rated as outsiders, adding: “I think we are 2⁄1 underdogs which I think would be a great bet.
“World rankings have a lot to do with it, but home soil outweighs most things.”
Lewis had hoped to shake off her back injury but was pictured in tears on Monday after hitting shots on the Centenary Course, which also hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup.
“It’s about what’s best for the team and for me with my body, but the timing is pretty horrible,” Lewis admitted.
“I’m glad we didn’t do this press conference yesterday because I don’t think I could have gotten a word out. It’s really, really disappointing because this is my favourite tournament.
“There’s nothing like that first tee and it’s disappointing not to hit a shot but I’ll be watching. I will be by Ally’s side all week.”