European Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew has named Celine Boutier, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Bronte Law and Suzann Pettersen as her four wildcard picks for the contest against the USA in September
A day after the first eight golfers qualified for their spots in Europe's Solheim Cup squad, Captain Catriona Matthew has announced her four wildcard picks during a press conference at Gleneagles, host of the 2019 contest.
Matthew named France's Celine Boutier as her first pick, followed by England's Bronte Law, Norway's Suzann Pettersen (who Matthew replaced as a player due to injury in the 2017 contest), and finally England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
They join Carlota Ciganda, Caroline Hedwall and rookie Anne Van Dam (who secured their spots in the Solheim Cup rankings), as well as Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Azahara Munoz, Caroline Masson and Anna Nordqvist, who all qualified through their World ranking.
“Bronte and Celine’s excellent recent form speaks for itself in terms of why I selected them, and I think they are both going to have fantastic Solheim Cup debuts," said Matthew. "I chose Jodi and Suzann for their vast experience, their recent good form and because I know exactly what they bring to the European team room. With our only other rookie being Anne Van Dam, who has also had an excellent year, I feel the experience of our team will be a great advantage to us along with the home crowd support.”
Two-time major and 15-time LPGA Tour player Suzann Pettersen was the most surprising pick, having recently returned after 20 months away after giving birth. Since then, she has teed up twice and missed both cuts: The team event Matthew at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational last month and last week's Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
Pettersen is the most decorated player on the team, with 19 Solheim Cup points to her name in the eight occasions she has played - third in the team's history to only Laura Davies (25) and Annika Sorenstam (24). In 2017 she was selected for the ninth time but had to pull out of the 2017 contest with an injury. She was already a Vice Captain, and will now step down from that role, replaced by Mel Reid.
"Catriona knows that match play brings out the absolute best in my game and that I will be ready to deliver points for her come September," said Pettersen. "I honestly believe that my best contribution to our Solheim Cup campaign will be on the course and I am very grateful to Catriona for having the confidence to choose me for this year's team."
Ewart Shadoff, who wasn't able to be in Scotland, has played on two previous occasions: when Europe were victorious in 2013, and again in their defeat in 2017.
"I am gutted not to be there for team practice today but I will be back hitting balls next week and I am really excited to be part of Catriona's team," said Ewart Shadoff. "I think the team looks incredibly strong, probably the strongest team I've been a part of and I'm honoured to have been chose by the Captain to be part of it. This will be my first Solheim Cup in Europe and just to experience the home crowd will be amazing and a big advantage for us."
Van Dam was the only rookie who automatically qualified, and the addition of Law and Boutier takes that total to three - all of who have played in the junior version of the biennial contest.
"I couldn't be happier to be making my Solheim Cup debut here at the beautiful Gleneagles," Law said about making her debut. "I am so grateful to Catriona and all the Vice Captains for picking me and I can't wait for it to start. To be part of this great team with so many Solheim Cup legends is pretty surreal but they have all been very generous in giving me advice ahead of making my debut."
"I have been dreaming of playing Solheim Cup since I was a little girl and it really is amazing to be here at this press conference and know that my dream will come true in a month's time," Boutier said. "Getting out there to practise with the team today on the PGA Centenary course where I watched so much of the Ryder Cup was fantastic and I think this course is going to suit me very well."
From left to right, Solheim Cup rookies Bronte Law, Anne Van Dam and Celine Boutier
With Pettersen stepping out of her Vice Captaincy role, Matthew announced that Mel Reid would now be her final Vice Captain, joining Dame Laura Davies and Kathryn Imrie.
The final qualifying event for the USA team will end with the CP Women’s Open in Canada, 22nd to 26th August, with many players still fighting to join their team in defending the Solheim Cup in Scotland next month.
Lexi Thompson, Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Lisette Salas and Jessica Korda are all safely qualified while past US Solheim Cup team standouts Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis, would need to win the CP Women’s Open to claim their place without needing a Captain’s pick from Juli Inkster.