TEGWEN Matthews has enjoyed a bit of a baptism of fire, to say the least, in her time as Curtis Cup captain.

There was the dilemma over whether to pick Charley Hull and then an injury to the British Amateur champion, Lauren Taylor, at the team trial at Nairn. Hull, to most people’s surprise, made it in. Taylor was left out.

Matthews has faced each decision full on and the desire to win back a trophy that has eluded us since 1996 burns brightly.

She played in four losing matches and was the team manager last time. Yet humour and passion remain in the hugely popular captain as GB&I seek to end a run of seven straight defeats to the Americans.

Who was part of the selectors’ meeting to finalise the team?

I am chairman of selectors. You’d normally have one representative from each home nation but, after the very sad death of Sue Turner, we didn’t have anyone from Wales.

So there was England’s Sarah Miller, Evan Higgins from Ireland and Scotland’s Isabel Crawford.

Why was there an agreement to confirm attendance at the trial?

All the selectors agreed it as so many of the girls have so many commitments, what with the LET Access Tour and various other things, so the calendar gets very busy and they or may not want to play.

A lot of the girls might be thinking of turning professional very quickly and you have to respect that.

From our point of view we needed a commitment that they were available for the trial and the match at Nairn.
From our point of view we needed a commitment that they were available for the trial and the match at Nairn.

How quick was the turnaround over Charley Hull?

It took a lot of talking. We decided on the written agreement and you don’t just go back on that without a great deal of thought as it can make you look fairly stupid.

There were obvious merits on the quality of golf that Charley would bring but we then had to decide on where do you stop moving the goalposts if we said she would play.

We also had a lot of other people to consider, others had signed the agreement and had attended the trial.

It was not just a nice little jolly get-together around Nairn, I wanted to put them under pressure.

I told them at the start of the week that it would be a hard week and, at the end of it, five of you will be very disappointed. It took about three hours to finalise everything.

Was it a unanimous decision to pick Charley?

It was a majority.

Did the other girls discuss the Charley Hull situation?

There was no discussion between the girls at Nairn, they were just focused on getting on the team.

What was Lauren’s injury?

It was with her trapezius (triangle across the back). She is an exceptionally nice girl and I am very disappointed not to have the British champion there.

She honoured the agreement and attended Nairn but we had correspondence from her parents that she had an injury and that she was unable to hit full shots.

So we had a chat at Nairn and she said the maximum shot she could hit was a 60-yard wedge.

That was fine as we had short-game coaches Chris Langford and Gillian Stewart there and Lauren worked very hard with them as well as walking the course.

You must have been surprised to hear she played the next week?

I do now find it pretty amazing she then played 18 holes the following Tuesday. It is beyond me quite honestly.

Her exact words were that it would be a miracle if she was fit enough to play in the French the following week.

None of it is ringing very true and it has all been very badly handled. Even the most bizarre person in the world would wonder why on earth I would be saying someone isn’t fit unless I knew she wasn’t fit.

Was there not an option to wait on her fitness?

There was a discussion on whether to pick her and see if she was fit enough to play in any of the upcoming tournaments but the majority decision was to say no to that. There are plusses and minuses to that but we decided against it.

Lowdown: The 37th Curtis Cup, Nairn GC, Friday June 8-10

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