September 5, 2021
Toledo, Ohio, USA
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, and welcome to the Team Europe press conference. I'm joined by Captain Catriona Matthew. Catriona, Europe have a 9-7 lead going into singles tomorrow. After this morning how well do you think the team did this afternoon?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I thought they did really well today. It was in a way slightly tough coming in with a three-point lead. We knew the Americans were going to come back fighting at us. We knew it was going to be close.
Obviously we had a slightly disappointing morning, and then to come back like we did in the afternoon, because at one point it was kind of very much the Americans had the momentum, and around about the turn you could sense it was changing a little bit and going toward Europe and you weren't hearing quite so many cheers.
Obviously the finish with Mel and Leona was fantastic and has really buoyed us up going into the singles tomorrow.
Q. Obviously you sat on 18 along with the rest of the team. What was your view on that shot that Mel did into 18 and the reaction of the team around you?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I was right there. I was basically opposite where it landed. I was watching it coming in through the air and thought it was maybe just going to carry the bunker and get caught in the rough, and just got -- I mean, a fortunate bounce. Just bounced through the rough and just ran down beautifully.
Slightly lucky, but probably for that match, a halve was a fair result. I think Jennifer, from what I heard, hit a really great chip-in on 17, so probably a fair result.
Q. And a word on Leona who's played all four matches and picked up points in every single one of them. How much has she impressed you in her rookie performance?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I'm very, very impressed with her. I was impressed with her even before she made the team, and I had watched little bit over this year and had followed her career over the last probably five or six years.
She has the reputation of being a great match player, and I think she's shown everyone that that's true.
Q. How are the team feeling heading into tomorrow's singles matches?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, they're feeling good. I think we're excited. I just gave them the order they're going to be playing in, and they're just looking forward to getting out there.
It's going to be tight. It always seems to come down to the singles. Every little half point here or there is going to be crucial.
Q. Can you kind of explain how having the experience of being a captain previously and making the selections kind of on the fly has, I assume, benefitted you this week? How are you able to rely on that experience?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think I probably did learn a few things from the last time in just how to, perhaps, put the pairings together and when to tell the players and how to tell the players perhaps you weren't playing and just, I suppose, especially for today's pairings, just trying to get the players ready that there could have been changes here or there or get ready to basically play at any time or play with anyone.
Obviously I've got a great team behind me. Laura, Suzann, Catherine, we really work as a team, so yeah, it's good.
Q. What's your method on picking singles?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't know. We feel as though we've got 12 strong players, so it was difficult how you were going to put them out. But hopefully we've picked a winning order.
Q. We haven't seen the singles pairings, so --
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't think the Americans' are out yet?
THE MODERATOR: We'll give them out once we have them all.
Q. Generally when you're leading, you try to front load to some extent your pairings. Is that a theory you are using or have you used some other theory in regards to how to do your singles?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: The four of us were just talking about it. We feel as though we've got 12 strong players, so we just kind put them in an order we thought -- a couple of them had preferences of perhaps where they wanted to play, whereabouts in the lineup, so we tried to accommodate that.
Yeah, we've just kind of put them out. We kind of had the theory not to worry too much how the Americans are going to do it. Every player is going to be a tough game, so I think we just line up our team however we want to, and then we'll just see who we play against.
Q. I'm not suggesting you had any players that necessarily struggled, but as a captain in general when you have players that you are going to count on at the beginning of the week and they don't really show up in the first two days, how do you deal with that and how do you deal with them?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, obviously that's happened in the past, but I think this week we've been fairly fortunate that our experienced players have all been performing well and picking up some points. Been lucky in that respect.
Q. I was just wondering, with Mel Reid and Leona Maguire, what was it that you saw that made you know they would be a good pairing?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Maybe that was just one of these lucky ones.
I don't know. I just felt Mel perhaps hadn't been coming in with the best of form, but watched during the practice days and she seemed to be hitting it really well.
And Leona, as everyone knows, is such a solid player. I know they're quite different personalities. To be honest they were quite surprised, but I told them both, Just go out and have a practice together and see how you get on.
I think it was really because they had never really spent much time with each other, so they didn't really know each other. I think they've got to know each other, and they've kind of reveled in each other's company.
Q. Obviously we don't know who you're sending off first yet, but was it an easy obvious decision for you?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't know. I don't want to give too much away in case Pat is listening. It was a unanimous decision.
Q. What thoughts did you have coming into this tournament, and now as we're beginning to wrap up, what are you leaving with?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, I saw us coming in -- obviously we wanted to come in and win the Solheim Cup. That's what we've been gearing up for for the last two years and the last two days of play, and that's what we're going to be going out there tomorrow to do.
Obviously you all want to have fun while you do it, and I think we've all gelled well together as a team, the whole kind of captains, helpers, caddies, players.
You know, we're having fun, but we're certainly wanting to go out there and win tomorrow.
Q. I also wanted to ask, what goes into competing against a team like the U.S.?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I mean, I think the players on both sides all know each other. I think you know how strong they're going to be, and I think obviously with the home crowd advantage this year it's been tough. I thought the crowd were great today, but as you can imagine, there was a lot of USA chants.
Yeah, we're just trying to quieten that.
Q. You touched on it there, but for obvious reasons the crowd is very different in this event than you would be used to, and it seemed to ramp up right round about lunchtime and the U.S. had won that session. Going into tomorrow what do you think happens there? Do you think it applies pressure to the home team and your players can enjoy silencing them or will you feed off them?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It is very different, and the crowd were getting right into it, quite rightly. The Americans were doing well and winning points. I think for them, they're going to want to go out and get that crowd going and rocking and cheering for them, and obviously we're wanting to do the opposite.
We're wanting to go out there and try and silence that crowd like we did a little bit towards the end of the day today.
Yeah, I mean, I think both teams are going to go out -- want to go out -- you want to go out and get a quick start. Both sides are going to want to do that for different reasons.
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