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Matthew Urges UK Girls To Stay Home

East Lothian, Scotland | Judging by recent results in Ryder, Solheim, Walker and Curtis cups, formative golfing years spent on the UK side of the Atlantic are not exactly doing GB&I’s young golfers any harm. Yet, it is as if the rising stars of today have not taken any of that into account. As Catriona Matthew noted at last week’s Ladies’ Scottish Open at Archerfield, more and more UK teenagers are sitting for their SATs in a desperate bid to head for the first American university to come up with a scholarship offer. By way of doing her bit to balance the ledger, Matthew, 44, has taken to wearing a Stirling University logo on her cap. When you delve further, this graduate in financial studies explains that it is partly by way of thanking the Scottish establishment where she spent five years on a golf scholarship, but rather more with a view to encouraging players to think carefully about their options. “Some of the American universities are excellent,” stressed the Scot, “but I definitely think that people need to look into what’s available at home – and why it might work better for certain individuals.” First and foremost, she queries whether all those who have their heart set on a U.S. college understand the extent to which a university coach in the States often will be more of a manager than a coach. (Obviously, there are exceptions, with Pat Goss, the man at the helm of the Northwestern programme, a case in point. Goss has worked with Luke Donald since his college days, while he is about to start up with Matthew Fitzpatrick, the 18-year-old English lad who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur.) “Some of the managers-cum-coaches,” said the 2009 Women’s British Open champion, “aren’t in a position to give much help on the technical front. Yet the late teens and early 20s are probably the most important years for a player to have someone constantly checking on his or her fundamentals.” In terms of how Stirling rates vis-a- vis its U.S. golfing counterparts when it comes to producing top golfers, Matthew believes that it is up there with the best. And by way of illustrating her point, she cites two fellow graduates in Sweden’s Maria Hjorth, a Solheim Cup golfer like herself, and Richie Ramsay, the 2006 U.S. Amateur champion who won the 2012 Omega European Masters. “The golfing curriculum,” she conceded, “is very different from what you get in the States in that you don’t have all those intercollege matches. However, they send you away for winter training and you go to a lot of individual amateur events in Europe and in the States. In many ways, it’s closer to mirroring how things will be when you are out on tour.”


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