Scotland’s Catriona Matthew will play in this week’s Solheim Cup after all.
The 47-year-old will wear the blue and gold of Team Europe for a ninth time, taking the place of the injured Suzann Pettersen at Des Moines Golf & Country Club in Iowa. Pettersen, in turn, will step in to Matthew's shoes as a vice-captain.
"I'm gutted for Suzann, she's a great competitor so I feel really sorry for her," said Matthew. "But I'm delighted to be playing and looking forward to it. I was disappointed when I didn't get in the side initially but I've been practising hard for the last couple of days and I feel ready."
Matthew also revealed that she will have Pettersen's caddie by her side this week. "I couldn't bring someone else out at this short notice," she said.
European captain Annika Sorenstam chose Matthew, one of her vice-captains, as her alternate when she selected her team following the conclusion of the RICOH Women’s British Open.
Sorenstam informed the United States team of the change this morning as required by the captains’ agreement.
Pettersen, an eight-time Solheim Cup participant, qualified to make her ninth appearance for the European team through the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. She arrived in Des Moines on Monday evening after receiving treatment for a recurrent slipped disc injury, which occurred in Norway over the weekend.
The 36-year-old revealed that the injury occurred when she was out for "a short, easy morning run" before breakfast on Saturday, ahead of attending a wedding that evening.
Despite receiving further treatment from the team osteopath on site, she withdrew on Wednesday morning due to experiencing persistent pain.
“I have made this extremely difficult decision to help the European team and give my team mates the best possible chance of success,” said Pettersen. “There was no guarantee that I would be fit to compete on Friday morning and I did not want to play unless I was able to give 100%. I truly love the Solheim Cup and I will stay and support my team this week in whatever way I can.”
Matthew has earned 19 points from 33 matches. She made her debut in 1998 and has been a member of three winning teams in 2003, 2011 and 2013.
She famously holed the winning putt in the 2003 Solheim Cup at Barsebäck Golf and Country Club in Sweden and secured the half-point required to win the cup outright to seal Europe’s first win on American soil at Colorado Golf Club in 2013.
Sorenstam, who revealed that "a tear or two" was shed when Pettersen informed her of her decision to withdraw, said: “It's unfortunate that Suzann has to withdraw due to her back injury. The Solheim Cup has been such an important part of her career. It was a very tough decision, but I am proud of her and she will still be a leader this week.
“Catriona is a proven Solheim Cup performer who will be able to step right in and play with anybody. She's ready to go.”