To those who don’t follow the Curtis Cup closely, the appointment of Catriona Matthew as captain of the 2024 Great Britain and Ireland team at Sunningdale might seem like a no-brainer. Of course she’s qualified for such a position as the three-time Curtis Cupper and major champion became the first captain to lead Europe to back-to-back Solheim Cup victories 2019 and 2021.
What’s historic about the appointment, however, is that a professional player has never captained a Curtis Cup team. Matthew will be the first LPGA pro to lead the team of eight in the biennial competition against Team USA. GB&I last won the Curtis Cup in 2016 at Dun Laoghaire.
The 43rd Curtis Cup match will be played at Sunningdale’s Old Course for the first time, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2024. Matthew has practically seen it all in the event. She was on the losing side in 1990, the winning side in 1992 at Royal Liverpool and again in 1994 when GB&I retained the trophy.
Winner of the 2009 AIG Women’s British Open and the 1993 Women’s British Amateur, Matthew still works in a mentoring role with Scottish Golf.
“As a player I remember the emotions of competing in the Curtis Cup,” said Matthew in a statement, “the excitement of being on a team rather than competing individually, as well as the desire to perform well for your team and pressure you put on yourself not to let them down. As a captain, it is my job to navigate the players through these situations and to help them believe what is possible.”
It’s over to you, @Beany25
We’re pleased to announce that Catriona Matthew OBE will be the 2024 GB&I @CurtisCup Captain
— The R&A (@RandA) March 22, 2023
Last summer, GB&I lost to the Americans at Merion by a score from the 15½-4½. The USGA has also traditionally appointed outstanding amateur golfers to captain its Curtis Cup squads.
Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A, said, “We are delighted that Catriona has accepted the captain’s role for the 2024 Curtis Cup. Her reputation for strong leadership and past experience as a player with winning pedigree make Catriona the perfect captain for the Great Britain and Ireland team.
“The Curtis Cup has long been a prominent event for women’s elite amateur golf and Great Britain and Ireland has enjoyed some fantastic wins,” said R&A CEO Martin Slumbers in a release. “We are now seeing the amateur level of the sport evolve into a more competitive era and believe that Catriona is the best placed captain to guide the team in this period.”