With her flowering longevity, Catriona Matthew has been such a hardy perennial she could just about gain honorary membership of the Royal Horticultural Society.

But wait. As one of the sturdy fixtures and fittings of the LPGA Tour, the sight of a draw sheet for the US Women’s Open, which starts today, with Matthew’s name missing from it takes a bit of getting used to.

Since making her debut in that particular major back in 1996, Matthew has missed just one and that was in 2009 when she had just become a mother for the second time.

All good things must come to an end, of course, and Matthew recently declared that she would be calling time on her LPGA Tour career after 25 years at the coalface. “I realised I’d had enough of the grind, it just got old,” said the former Women’s British Open champion.

Matthew, 49, is by no means taking a back seat. Her role as European Solheim Cup captain for September’s match with the USA at Gleneagles means she is very much at the

forefront of golfing affairs even though she is cutting down on her own playing schedule.

“It’s getting closer all the time,” she said of the biennial contest which is being staged in Scotland for a third time and a first since it was played at Loch Lomond in 2000.

With cup fever in mind, this week’s US Women’s Open, the second major on the female calendar, will make for interesting viewing from Matthew’s point of view.

Recent events in the US have been pretty pleasing on the eye for the skipper, with English youngster Bronte Law stepping up to the plate and reeling off a second and a first in her last two events on the LPGA circuit to barge her way into the Solheim Cup reckoning.

Law, who competed in a junior Solheim Cup in 2013 under the captaincy of Matthew’s old sparring partner Janice Moodie, can’t qualify automatically for the team due to the fact that she will not have played in the required minimum number of Ladies European Tour events, but the 24-year-old continues to stake a very strong claim for a wild card pick.


With a fine matchplay pedigree in the amateur ranks – she won five matches out of five in the 2016 Curtis Cup – Matthew wouldn’t mind unleashing Law on the Americans at Gleneagles.

“Bronte has been in my thoughts for well over a year,” said Matthew. “She would be a great addition to the team, she’s feisty and fiery and great in matchplay. She has that never-give-up attitude. Even if she is two or three down she will be fighting on every hole. It is what you want in matchplay.

“We had great results from a European perspective last week, with Bronte winning and Madelene [Sagstrom] second. I think there were six Europeans in the top 20. Hopefully, they’re not peaking too soon.”

The European team will be finalised and then named after the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at The Renaissance in August. Hopes of any Scottish representation in the side remain remote. “The chances are pretty slim and someone would have to have a really big summer,” conceded the captain.

Matthew may have cut back on her transatlantic forays, but she will beef up her European schedule and a showpiece occasion in her own gate end of East Lothian is always something to savour, even if it means juggling the competitive cut-and-thrust with the nip-and-tuck of domestic duties.

“It’s a bit of multi-tasking,” she added with a smile. “In a way, it’s actually easier playing an event away from home because you have your routine of what you do when you’re at a golf tournament.”

With both the men’s and women’s Scottish Opens being held at the same course within the space of a couple of weeks, Matthew would like to see that initiative taken further. The Vic Open in Australian, for instance, sees the males and females competing at the same venue, at the same time and for the same prize fund.

“Anywhere where there are two golf courses it is possible and I would like to see it,” said Matthew. “You want variety so you wouldn’t want that every week, but to maybe have it three times a year would be great.

“You see how that works in tennis with the majors, where the men and ladies are playing at the same time. Would the women’s event be overshadowed? Is it in tennis?

“It just depends on the players and the characters at each event. Perhaps to start with it might be [overshadowed], but hopefully it would evolve and grow.”

Having missed her last four cuts while on LPGA Tour duty, Matthew is hoping she has re-discovered her form by the time the Ladies Scottish Open comes round.

Some shafts of optimism have come from a source very close to home. “My putting has been pretty awful so I tried my youngest daughter’s putter,” said Matthew. "She wasn’t too thrilled about that but it seems to work for me.”