Catriona Matthew will lead Europe once again in 2021 as they try to retain the Solheim Cup. We discuss the pros and cons of having two cracks at the whip
After the brilliance at Gleneagles Catriona Matthew will lead Europe for a second time in Ohio in 2021. In Fourball we discuss the merits of giving a team captain a second term and Alex Perry, Joe Hughes and Chris Lewis join in the debate..
Alex: With the Ryder Cup I’m firmly in the one-and-done camp. There are just so many possible captains that giving someone a second crack at the whip effectively takes an opportunity away from someone else. Imagine if Sergio Garcia never got a chance to skipper Team Europe because a couple of decades before we decided to give Darren Clarke a chance to redeem himself…
This might not be quite the case with the Solheim Cup, so perhaps it works with the skippers getting another go – particularly when the likes of Dame Laura Davies are saying they’re not bothered about taking the reins.
I don’t really know why Matthew wants to if I’m honest. If she fails in the US, it takes away all her hard work from Gleneagles – and I’m not sure why she’d really want to risk that. Perhaps that’s why she’s a professional athlete and I’m not.
Joe: I’m quite happy to see captains given more than one attempt at the job in both the Solheim and Ryder Cups providing that they’ve earned it.
In the case of winning captains providing they want to stay on in the role then that should be that – they would lead the team the next time out. You wouldn’t be looking to change an international football manager after each major tournament even if they have won it.
The predicament of retaining a losing captain is a bit more tricky but considering certain factors can lead to the right decision. Some captains clearly got almost everything right and were just beaten by the better team on that week. Think Davis Love III at Medinah who then returned so well at Hazeltine.
If the fit just wasn’t right or there are perhaps better candidates for the role then that’s when changes should be made.
Chris: It’s a tough gig, but I think one single captaincy is the best way to do it.
The Ryder Cup has done this for the past 20 years primarily to ensure the innumerable number of deserving legends all get a bite at the cherry.
There still remains a Solheim Cup precedent of repeat captains, yet the evidence suggests its not always a successful strategy.
Returning captains have only ever retained the Solheim Cup twice from eight attempts.
As the match cultures more heroines, one-time captains should become the norm to accommodate those soon-to-be deserving women.
That said, come on Catriona!
My verdict: I’m not sure I can ever picture a Ryder Cup doing it in back-to-back matches again. You can be as incredible as the likes of Bernhard Langer and Paul McGinley but you’d never expect to take the tiller again.
The Solheim Cup is a different beast. Europe have only won once in the States – Lotta Neumann was in charge then and she led the visitors to a ridiculous 18-10 rout – and therefore Matthew is the glaringly obvious pick after what went on in Scotland and the team morale that everyone spoke so highly about.
To win in Ohio is the impossible dream and to pull it off would be extraordinary. Good on her for taking it on.
Would you like to see captains being changed after each match? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us.