By Team GB’s Catriona Matthew…
This is one of the most exciting times of my career. It began with sealing qualification for the Olympic Games and then being chosen by Annika Sorenstam to be one of her vice captains for the 2017 Solheim Cup. Two incredible honours and two thrilling prospects. Now I’m playing in the fourth women’s Major of 2016, the Ricoh Women’s British Open on the Marquess’ Course at Woburn: the championship I memorably won at Royal Lytham in 2009. It’s going to be a great week and I just hope I can play to the best of my ability.
Getting in to Team GB was a big goal of mine and so can’t wait to get to Rio. It was made more real when a large package was delivered to our house containing all the various bits of kit we’ll be wearing. I tweeted a picture of it recently and the response showed how much the Olympics means to people, not just golf fans but people who just want to follow the biggest event in the world. It made me feel really excited about getting to the athletes village and taking my place with all the great athletes from across the world.
Team GB is looking strong, with myself and Charley Hull lining up alongside Justin Rose and Danny Willett.
I’ve been asked several times whether I think I have a chance of winning a medal and my answer is absolutely yes, of course, I wouldn’t be going if I didn’t think that. And so do the rest of the team, which must be one of the strongest on show: it would hardly be a shock were Charley, Justin or Danny to take the gold medal. They are all great players with the pedigree to perform at the right time when the pressure is at its most intense, which is just what’s required over the next few weeks.
There’s obviously been a great deal of talk about the small number of men who have decided not to travel to Rio. But we should all remember how many of the world’s best players will be in Brazil to compete of both sexes. Golf’s administrators have worked hard to get the game in the shop window and the opportunity for the women’s game is particularly significant. We all know the men’s game gets a great deal of media coverage, and this will be the chance to establish women’s golf to a new generation of sports enthusiasts.
My hope is that having seen the game for the first time in Rio, many people from around the world will begin to take an interest. We all know the game has so much to offer, it would be such a shame if the recent controversies detract from that important message.