Kevin Craggs was a shocked as anyone to see Catriona Matthew on the range when he arrived at Des Moines on Monday.
“The bus was pulling in, I saw her hitting balls and said, ‘hang on here, what’s going on?’” said the Scot’s coach. “Seriously, I am very proud and delighted because I don’t think there is anyone better to step up to the plate in a situation like this.
“It’s her ninth Solheim Cup, she has a massive presence in the team room and an incredible presence on the golf course.
“She’s been here and done it before and match-play in itself could really suit her this week. You can be a bit more aggressive and mistakes aren’t as punishing as they are in stroke-play.
“Catriona has a great ability of being able to manage her emotions impeccably. She’s got a game style that she is in control of and I am confident she will embrace this better than anyone could.”
Craggs and Catriona have recently reunited as a partnership, their first spell together seeing her reach fifth in the world.
“Relationships sometimes need a break and I was delighted when she contacted me and said, ‘can we get things back on the road’,” he continued.
“We are great friends off the golf course and I am respectful of her and her family, so it was a no-brainer and I am looking forward to working with her during the latter part of what has been a great career.
“From tee to green she has been as good as she’s ever been. The difference between doing well or badly is how she performs on the greens.”
Craggs’ other pupil in Team Europe is Mel Reid, who has been entrusted with the opening blow this morning.
“Mel revels in a team environment and we know she is going to be hitting the first tee shot tomorrow,” he said.
“There is a definite determination in the team room. They are here to bring the trophy back. When you look at the dynamics of the team, Annika has done a terrific job and she has involved everybody.”
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