European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew has announced slight changes to the qualification process for the match – including a boost for the Ladies European Tour.
Speaking in a conference call, the Scot – who was unveiled as Europe’s captain for the match at Gleneagles in September – announced that the amount of events LPGA-based European players must play between Solheim Cups has been raised from six to eight.
It is hoped that the move will help strengthen the Ladies European Tour after a season where there were concerns about its long-term future, while another tweak should help to strengthen the European team for next year’s match.
That tweak is that the number of European players selected from the Rolex Rankings has been raised from four to five, while the number of players selected from the LET Order of Merit has been reduced from four to three. Matthew will still have four wildcard picks.
“We’ve lost the last two matches so it was time to do something different,” said Matthew. “The world rankings are a fair mark of where people are at and it was important to have that extra spot there.
“As for raising the number of LET events players must play in, it shows that extra commitment from LPGA-based players to be a part of the team.”
Matthew also said she’s relishing her battle with Juli Inkster, who was unveiled as the US captain for a third successive match earlier today.
“I’ve got great respect for Juli,” continued Matthew. “The US players clearly have lots of respect for her, too, but no matter who was chosen to lead the team, we are going to be up against top quality opposition at Gleneagles.
“She’s been so successful in her career and in the past couple of matches – but winning ways always have to come to an end.”