Sculpture celebrates Solheim Cup

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Europe’s Solheim Cup Captain, Catriona Matthew, has returned to Gleneagles, the site of her team’s dramatic 2019 victory, to unveil a special commemorative sculpture called ‘Match’ created by Scottish artist, Jephson Robb. Attended by key representatives from Gleneagles, Event Scotland and PING Europe, the special ceremony took place on Tuesday, April 27. 

Upon unveiling the sculpture, Catriona, said: “Team Europe’s victory on Scottish soil will always remain one of the greatest achievements of my career. I’m sure this wonderful sculpture will also remind the many thousands who visit Gleneagles each year, of a truly exceptional Solheim Cup I will certainly never forget.”

Jephson – one of only a few Scottish artists to have work in the permanent collection of the prestigious Museum of Modern Art, New York – was commissioned to create a permanent sculpture as a lasting reminder of the event, which saw more than 90,000 spectators visit the 850-acre Perthshire estate, a record attendance for a women’s UK golf tournament.

At 1.75 cm tall, referencing the average height of the competitors, the stainless-steel mirror polished sculpture sits atop a Scottish Whinstone circular plinth which is inscribed with the names of players, Captains and Assistants and the 14 1/2  – 13 1/2 final score. The sculpture is situated alongside the opening tee of the PGA Centenary Course.

The event in 2019 will always be regarded as one of the most dramatic in Solheim Cup history.
The inscribed plinth, made from locally-sourced stone, features player names from both teams.

Jephson took inspiration for the sculpture from the dramatic final moments of the Cup when Norwegian, Suzann Pettersen, holed the winning putt on the final green for Team Europe – one of the major sporting highlights of that year.

He commented: “Several times I watched that final moment of the finesse of a delicate putt that decided who won and it struck me just how much golf is a sport of two games: powerful driving and skilful putting. My starting point for the shape was the circular shape of the golf swing. The overall spherical nature of the sculpture makes references to the global nature of the competition as well as to a golf ball. The circular plinth is a direct reference to the hole and, specifically, the final putt at the final hole that decided the winner.”

The sculpture also contains a number of hidden elements, namely a Saltire, the profile of a Cup, and two matching hearts going against each other, a nod to the event’s love and rivalry. In naming it ‘Match’, Jephson also took inspiration from beyond The Solheim Cup itself.

“Of course, its name acknowledges the staging of this truly incredible match play event at Gleneagles, but for me, ‘Match’ has a number of other important meanings. It represents the strong bond Karsten Solheim, who’s family founded the event, had with his wife, Louise; their commercial ‘Match’ with professional golfers when developing their first PING putters in the 1960s; and, on a very personal level, Gleneagles is where I married my ‘Match’,” said Jephson.

Gleneagles, consistently voted the #1 Golf Resort in the UK & Ireland, remains the only venue in Europe to have staged both a Solheim Cup and a Ryder Cup (2014). It will further add to its rich history of welcoming tournaments when it hosts the Senior Open Presented by Rolex next year (July 21-24).

Conor O’Leary, Managing Director at Gleneagles, concluded: “Jephson’s sculpture is a fitting and lasting celebration to one of the greatest modern moments in women’s team sport. We hope many thousands of people enjoy viewing it and take time to reflect on a truly remarkable event that showcased everything that is great about the sport of golf and how it continues to captivate us all.”

VIP attendees for the unveiling. From left to right, Councillor Murray Lyle, Perth & Kinross Council; Conor O’Leary, Gleneagles; Alan Grant, VisitScotland; Catriona Matthew, European Solheim Cup Team Captain; David Kemp, Gleneagles; Artist, Jephson Robb; John Clarke, PING Europe; Paul Bush, EventScotland.