According to one insider at Gleneagles yesterday, there’s still a visible champagne splatter left on the wall of one of the Perthshire resort’s plush rooms that was used for the triumphant knees-up following Europe’s Solheim Cup win there back in September.

By all accounts, there was so much celebratory bubbly swilling around they just about had to use the PGA Centenary course’s Sub-Air system to dry out the carpet.

As far as the transatlantic tussle is concerned, Catriona Matthew is keen to keep the good times flowing.

After leading Europe to that thrilling one-point win over the USA in her own backyard a couple of months ago, and being showered with great torrents of praise in the process, it was no surprise the celebrated North Berwick veteran was re-installed as captain for the 2021 match in Ohio at an unveiling in the Gleneagles Hotel.


Only three European captains have won the cup on home soil and then attempted to retain this cherished clump of crystal in the US but Mickey Walker in 1994, Dale Reid in 2002 and Catrin Nilsmark in 2005 all failed to complete the double.

Only one European skipper has actually tasted victory on US turf and that was Liselotte Neumann in 2013.

Pressure? What pressure? “I never felt huge pressure in this one,” she said of a nail-nibbling duel in the glen that was decided by the last putt on the last green of the last game.

READ MORE: Nick Rodger's weekly golf column

“I never hit a shot. If you are playing there’s a huge amount of pressure. But, as captain, I just really enjoyed it and soaked up all the atmosphere. I probably enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

“A lot of the players had indicated that they’d like me to do it again and if you have the backing of the players that’s always nice. That was probably what tipped it, the fact so many wanted me to do it again.

“You wouldn’t think anything could top winning here [at Gleneagles]. Winning at home is obviously very special, especially the way it finished. But the chance to go to America and do something that’s never been done, winning home and away back-to-back, is a challenge I’m really looking forward to.”

When it comes to the role of the captain in team golf events, analysts, experts and pundits like to portray the skipper as some kind of deep-thinking mastermind who can harness and dictate the ebb and flow of affairs by utilising everything from pod systems, quantum physics and what type of sweaters the players wear.


So Catriona, was it all head-scratching, elaborate equations and note scribbling when it came to working out pairings and singles orders? “The singles line-up only took us 10 minutes to work out,” she said with a smile.

Simplicity and clarity were all part of Matthew’s quiet, effective leadership. “For the pairings and the order, you can over-analyse,” she added.

“I think the main thing is communication. The players like to know as much as they can, what is going on and why you have made certain decisions.

READ MORE: Work to be done in wake of magical Solheim success

“Rather than just saying ‘you are not playing’ or ‘we are doing this’, I tried to tell them why I had made the decisions.”

Matthew has already stated she will retain her Gleneagles vice-captains, Kathryn Imrie and Laura Davies, for 2021 while Suzann Pettersen, who was originally a vice-captain but ended up playing, won the final point and then retired, will be in the backroom team.

The match will be played at the Inverness Club in Toledo. “Hopefully that’s a good omen,” she said of this Scottish-sounding venue.