September 11, 2019
If Europe’s rookies are feeling the pressure ahead of their Solheim Cup debuts then they are doing a good job of hiding it.
Celine Boutier, Bronte Law and Anne Van Dam may be the new girls for the home team but all the talk this week is the six newcomers in Juli Inkster’s 12-strong American side, seeking a third straight win at Gleneagles this weekend.
Van Dam played the PING Junior Solheim Cup six years ago while Law clearly loves match play, becoming only the second player in Curtis Cup history to win all five matches as Great Britain beat the USA for only the third time in two decades three years ago.
But both acknowledge the pressure this weekend will be something else, though the soothing words of Captain Catriona Matthew have helped ease the nerves.
“Catriona doesn’t overtalk or arrange loads of team meetings or stuff like that,” said Law.
“She gets to the point and says what needs to be said in as few words as possible. And that’s something that a lot of great captains have as qualities. I think that’s something she really does possess.
“We’re rookies on a team with so much experience, they obviously have a lot of collective memories together and they’ve spent a lot of time together.
“We’re coming into it but Catriona has made us feel like we’re really a part of this team and that we fit in, it’s never been difficult.
“We’ve also got Laura Davies as one of our vice-captains. She’s obviously one of the greatest British golfers to ever step foot on these grounds. She’s so laid back, which is something that I always admire about her and she brings a sense of calm to the team.
“She has lots of great stories but she also provides a lot of banter which is something that’s good in some stressful situations. She’ll kind of break the ice and let you feel you feel a little more relaxed, which I think is a really good quality to have.”
There is certainly no shortage of advice for coping with the nerves of the first tee – where a racing heart rate makes just holding the club tough, let alone swinging it and firing one down the middle.
After all the talking, Van Dam just wants her chance to grip it and rip it – and get the home crowd cheering.
“They all have their tips or things they experienced but everything is personal,” she said,
“I just want to experience it myself. We’ve all played Major Championships and won tournaments. we know how to deal with pressure but the first tee is going to be like no other.
“The grandstand is huge, and it’s going to be really loud. But I think we have to realise like probably 80 percent of those people sitting there are rooting for us.
“I think that’s going to be a big key this week. Crowds are going to be big, but most of them will be behind us. So I think that’s going to be in the back of my mind going forward.”