THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Catriona Matthew, the defending champion. Catriona is actually making her third appearance in the tournament here, her 16th in total; however, it’s your first at defending champion. How does that feel?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It feels great actually. Really looking forward to this week. I’ve been really looking forward to it all year. Nice to get here and finally get out on the golf course.
THE MODERATOR: Have you done anything differently to prepare for being champion?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No, just really the same as I’d normally do.
Q. How does the course look?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, the course is in great shape. As with any links course, it’s all down to the weather. It’s pretty windy out there today. So first two holes were certainly playing pretty tough.
Q. About the last year, what’s sort of been the highlight since you won the
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think probably since winning obviously the end of last year, I got a few awards which was always very nice. I got the LET Player of the Year voted on by the players so it’s very special. I got an MBE, which being British is a great honour, so I’m looking forward to going down the castle to get that.
Q. Was your reaction more or less than you expected it to be?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it was probably a bit more. I think the fact that I just had a baby kind of made it a bit more of a thing. That was what probably made it a bit more media stuff and things because of that.
Q. What have you done with the babies this week?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: This week they’re actually at home in Scotland with my mum and dad. Katie is getting swimming lessons, so you know how that goes. More exciting than watching me play golf.
Q. You are quite a quiet person by nature. Has any of it been sort of hard to handle?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No, it’s not been too bad at all. The week after it was obviously pretty busy with lots of different things. But pretty fun. I’ve enjoyed it actually. Pretty good fun.
Q. It’s probably too early to tell, but have you noticed any sort of juniors coming sort of inspired by your example or young girls coming up to you?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, well, I just played with is it Kelly Tidy, just played nine holes with her this morning. Very good player. I couldn’t quite believe she was still playing the girls’ golf. But no, yeah, I’ve played with a few. She’s certainly got a lot of potential I would say. There’s a few in Scotland coming through, so hopefully there will be a few more.
Q. A couple of slightly unrelated questions. One, were you surprised at the end of last year not to receive any type of recognition in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, which a lot of us thought was a slightly odd omission?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I mean, I thought I might manage to squeak into the nomination or the Top 10, but it was a little disappointing not to be in the Top 10 there. But it was a nice event to go to.
Q. And are you surprised that I’ll just ask you to comment on the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any root for someone like an Alexis Thompson into this event?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think she didn’t try get in. As an amateur, I think I read a thing from the LPGA she could have come and tried to qualify. She could have played in Toledo, I think. She chose not to take a sponsor’s invite there, and that was kind of the qualifier on the LPGA Tour. She could have played her way in that way. I think she had the opportunity to play her way in a couple of times.
She’s only 15. She’s going to have a lot of other chances to come and play in it.
Q. I gather that she’s asking to get her Tour card. I mean, what do you think of that at 15? Do you think she’d be better off anywhere else?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I mean, I think probably she’d be better off at school. I mean, she’s certainly proved she’s a good enough player, there’s no doubting that. But 15 is maybe just a little too young to come out on Tour. I mean, it’s still really only a child. She should be kind of enjoying herself more you can get on Tour now at 16 years. It’s not like other sports where you’re maybe done by 25 to 30; golf you can keep playing until you’re 40. I don’t really see the great rush with some of the younger ones.
Q. Do you feel there’s a lot of criticism of the LPGA for not encouraging her, or do you think they’re wise to be a bit careful?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think they’re wise to be a bit careful, really. I mean, obviously I don’t know what they’re going to do whether she’s going to petition to try and go to Tour school or what. I don’t know what the LPGA really are thinking about that. But personally I think she should probably just wait a couple years at least, maybe go well, she’s turned pro now. She can’t go and win all the U.S. Amateurs and things. I think she should just be enjoying herself a bit more, trying to be a child. There’s no great rush to grow up.
Q. Do you think in a way that they’ve learnt a lesson from what happened to Michelle a bit?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don’t know. I mean, Michelle obviously went down the track of playing in men’s events a little bit more. Obviously Alexis hasn’t done that yet. But yeah, I don’t know. Obviously everyone is different and everyone does it their own way. But hopefully this is the best way for her. But we’ll just need to wait and see.
Q. After you won, can I just ask about sponsorship, what came forward in endorsements?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, well, nothing really kind of straightaway. I’ve got a deal now with Aberdeen kind of short term. Hopefully that will progress into a little bit more. It’s just a tough climate at the moment.
Q. If you were male, you’d probably have had £10 million worth of endorsements by now. Doesn’t that make you feel a bit not bitter, but
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It’s just one of those things, that male golfers get kind of more media coverage maybe, slightly higher profile in sports. So they get bigger endorsement deals.
Q. Did you expect to get a bit more than you did?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I probably hoped to get a little bit more, but hopefully things are progressing, so you never know.
Q. What’s the deal with Aberdeen? Somebody said it’s two weeks?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, it’s a short term deal but it’s nice of them to come and do something, and hopefully it can progress into something more.
Q. As someone from Gleneagles up in Scotland, could I ask you what your reaction is to the return of the Scottish Ladies Open at the Archerfield, which I know is just adjoining your home up there?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, obviously it’s great to have a Scottish event back on the schedule. Again, obviously it’s starting small and hopefully it can grow into something a bit bigger. Unfortunately it didn’t quite fit into my schedule this year. I find traveling with the children a bit more challenging, so we need to kind of give ourselves a bit more time to get over the jet lag, but hopefully next year it works out and I can play in it next year.
Q. On the sponsorship, how would you sell yourself to a potential sponsor, and would you sell it to a Scottish market or a global one?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I suppose it could be either, really. Obviously I’m Scottish so it could be the Scottish market, but I play globally in the States, Asia. Could really go for either kind of market. Probably looking at both types of things. Obviously I’d be great for kind of a corporate day, golfing day, that kind of thing.
Q. On your form coming into this week, could you talk about that, of the effect of your new coach?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I started working with Kevin Craggs probably, I don’t know, about March, April of this year, so that’s been going really well. He feels I’m playing really well this week. I played well out there this morning. Had a good round the last round in Evian. It’s not usually my favourite course for playing well, so that’s always encouraging. So hopefully I can bring that into this week.
Q. Who do you see as your main challengers this week?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it’s probably pretty wide open. I mean, obviously Suzann, Cristie, Paula, Sophie always plays well in the British. You can list probably 10 or 12 people that have really good chance.
Q. What would be your abiding memory of your victory last year?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think walking down 18. I was lucky once I had hit my tee shot I knew I had won it, so coming down the last with everyone cheering and things, that was the best part of it.
Q. And unrelated, what’s your take on the coverage your sport gets? We find it frustrating talking to our officers trying to get them more interested, but what’s your take?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, like you, probably just a little bit frustrated. Obviously this week gets good coverage on the BBC, which is great for women’s golf, but I think we need just to keep chipping away, and it’s just getting more of it on television, isn’t it, kind of mainstream television, SKY and things.
Q. Just the whole super mum thing, afterwards did you get many messages from mums and stuff like that?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I didn’t get many, no. A few, but not too many.
Q. And of the messages you got, what was the most memorable message you got?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it was mainly just people at the time it was just something I went out and did, but maybe looking back it was quite special, just 11 weeks after having a baby. Yeah, I think people were just generally amazed that I could be back playing golf quite so quickly and winning a tournament.