Catriona Matthew has declared that this year’s Solheim Cup at Des Moines Golf & Country Club was her final appearance in the biennial event as a player.
The Scot, a late addition to this year’s side as a replacement for the injured Suzann Pettersen, announced after the 16½-11½ defeat to the US that she won’t play in the match again.
Matthew is widely tipped to succeed Annika Sorenstam as European captain in time for the next match in Scotland in 2019.
She bows out after winning three points for Europe in this year’s defeat, including a hard-fought one-up victory over Stacy Lewis in the singles.
“This is going to be my last one playing,” said Matthew, who turns 48 on Friday. “You know, I was three-down through 11 today and I kind of said to myself this is going to be last match. So, I gave it my all and got all the holes in, managed to play all 18 and just squeak it past. “I enjoyed the moment but I think it’s time for some younger players to take over.”
Matthew made her Solheim debut in 1998 at Muirfield Village in Ohio. She was then first reserve for the 2000 match at Loch Lomond. She was called into the team when Helen Alfredsson injured her wrist but the Swede recovered and Matthew consequently didn’t feature.
After being surprisingly overlooked for a wild card in 2002, she went on to feature in every match from 2003 to date. She holed the winning putt in 2003 and secured the half-point required to win the cup outright in 2013, sealing Europe's first victory on American soil in the process.
She won her 20th, 21st and 22nd points this week to move into outright third place on the all-time record points-scorer list, behind Laura Davies and Sorenstam.
The North Berwick ace has previously spoken of her desire to lead the European team at Gleneagles in 2019.
Speaking to bunkered.co.uk last month, Sorenstam tipped Matthew to take over from her.