Team Europe must embrace the pressure of the Solheim Cup if they are to overcome the United States, according to captain Catriona Matthew.
USA have won the last two editions of the event – the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup – in 2015 and 2017, and are favourites heading to Gleneagles.
However, Matthew believes Europe are more than capable of testing their rivals as long as they utilise the atmosphere of the home crowd in their favour.
Asked if she expected the crowd to be as voracious and partisan as at the Ryder Cup, Matthew told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Yes I do.
“It’s very different from a regular golf crowd. Just because it’s teams, the crowd get behind their team. The players love it, the more people out there screaming and shouting the better, to be honest.
“I think that’s what makes the event so special. We’re expecting them to be biased with it being in Europe. [USA] are a strong side, but I feel confident in our team and we’ve got a really good make-up this year with some rookies and some experienced players, and they’ve all done really well in practice.
“Everyone’s going to be nervous on that tee, so you’ve just got to try and embrace the crowd. I’ve been trying to get over to them that we’ll need to get off to a fast start so you’ve got to enjoy the first tee but be focused and ready to go.”
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) September 12, 2019
American Danielle Kang made no secret of her desire to retain the Solheim Cup, claiming in a news conference on Wednesday that she wished to “make players cry”.
It is a comment which Matthew feels will only fuel Europe’s motivation.
“That’s extra motivation for our team. I don’t think there’s anyone on our side that hasn’t seen that,” she added.
“Not that we need motivating. The players don’t really need to be motivated. It’s just about keeping them relaxed, keeping them loose, be there for them and support them, try and have a good atmosphere and make sure everyone’s getting on.
“If you have good morale you’re almost 1-0 up going onto the first tee.”
We all know Gleneagles plays long and may be unfamiliar to the @SolheimCupUSA team…
But which of them is most likely to get lost this week? #TeamUSA themselves provide the answers
— The 2019 Solheim Cup (@2019solheimcup) September 12, 2019
HOW IT WORKS
The Solheim Cup has the same format as the Ryder Cup, with matches played over three days. There are 28 matches in total – eight foursomes, eight four-balls and 12 singles.
In total, there are 12 players on each side, with America’s elite and Europe’s best going head-to-head.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The Solheim Cup has traditionally been seen as the pinnacle of team play in women’s golf. However, the growing dominance of Asian players at the top of the game means those competing for glory this weekend are not necessarily the cream of the tour.
While the USA have five top-20 players in their team, Europe have only one – Spain’s Carlota Ciganda. There are currently eight South Koreans in the top 20.