EVE MUIRHEAD: Pressure on Shelley Kerr and a new golf superstar emerges


The Scotland women’s football team and their manager have had plenty of compliments over the last few years.

But after losing to Finland the other night they won’t be at the European Champions finals in England in 2022 and they’re now having to deal with some criticism.

The Euros will be the first championship they’ve missed since 2015.

There is no doubt that the profile of the national team has soared in the last five years.

That brings its advantages but it also brings a higher level of scrutiny.

The recent World Cup campaign ended with a collapse against Argentina, talk of a dressing room fall-out and now finishing way off the pace in a group you were expected to win will increase the pressure on Shelley Kerr.

The fact that Shelley couldn’t be at the last two games because of the Covid-19 situation is mitigation. And she has a lot of credit in the bank.

But if this was the men’s team, you know that there would be a lot of people saying there had to be a change.

I was cheering on my friend Kelsey MacDonald at the weekend when I was watching the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open De Espana on the Ladies European Tour.

It was a wee bit of a shame that she dropped down from fifth to 11th in the final round but it was still a really strong way to finish the season.

Kelsey and other female golfers trying to keep their heads above water don’t have it easy in normal times so you can imagine what a challenge 2020 has been.

It isn’t just about who plays the best golf, it’s about attracting sponsors to make sure staying on tour is viable.

Her tie for eighth in the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at the start of last month and a top 40 spot in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International has made this a really solid season for Kelsey and hopefully gives her the platform to play more events and make the next leap forward in 2021.

She’s certainly got the dedication and the talent.

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Kelsey MacDonald.

Talking of dedication and talent, how good a player does the winner in Spain, Emily Pedersen, look?

That first place was her third in a row.

It’s a long time since I’ve seen someone as lethal with a wedge in her hands. She was so accurate on Sunday.

When you dig into her back-story, her success becomes even more impressive.

After looking like the next big thing, she dropped way down the world rankings out of the top 500.

There was a disappointing Solheim Cup debut as well at the age of just 21.

You can guarantee that the knocks will have made her much stronger mentally, which is absolutely key in golf.

She now looks like a superstar in the making to me.

There was more disappointing news for Scottish curling this week.

All domestic competitions scheduled for January and February have been cancelled.

That means no Scottish Championship.

Selfishly, I’m on eight just now and getting to 10 is a big goal so it’s hugely frustrating to not get the chance to compete. But as I’ve said hundreds of times, I appreciate the bigger picture.

Hopefully, we’ll get selected to represent Scotland at the World Championships in Switzerland.

The good news is that, for the men, their Worlds in Canada is going to be part of a multi-tournament ‘bubble’.

It will only be fair if the same now happens for the women’s event.

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