Stephen Gallacher has told bunkered.co.uk that he is ‘chuffed to bits’ to have achieved the chance to fulfil his lifelong dream of playing in the Ryder Cup, although, the news hasn’t sunk in just yet.
Gallacher was back at Bathgate Golf Club this morning, just 24 hours after European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley announced he had been given a wildcard pick, and the 39-year-old can’t wait to tee it up at Gleneagles at the end of the month.
Speaking exclusively to bunkered.co.uk, he said: “It’s really special with it being a home Ryder Cup. I set out two years ago to try and get into it. It’s the last time it’s going to be here in my generation and it’s one I wanted badly. I’m just over the moon that all of the hard work and preparation that has gone into it has paid off.”
Gallacher had to hold out for one of Paul McGinley’s three wildcard picks after missing automatic qualification by one shot. After he finished his final round at the Italian Open on Sunday, Gallacher then had to wait until 8:30pm on Monday night to get the good news from McGinley. He says waiting for the call made Monday a particularly long day.
“Monday was the longest day ever waiting for that phone call,” continued Gallacher. “To have gotten so close to qualifying myself, it came down to my second last shot over a calendar year to qualify automatically and I didn’t quite make it. With the magnitude of people that I was up against, I never knew what was going to happen. I’m just delighted that Paul put me ahead of others.”
"I said to my caddie on the tenth tee that we needed a strong back-nine or the dream was gone." - Stephen Gallacher on his final round at the Italian Open
When the call finally arrived, Gallacher was delighted and says his initial response was: ‘That’s brilliant wee man, I can’t wait.’ McGinley then told Gallacher how impressed he had been with his performance on the Friday at the Italian Open when he carded a seven-under-par round of 65 to propel himself back into contention after starting the day 14 shots behind the leader.
On that day, Gallacher says, he knew he had to just go out and go for it. He added: “It’s quite a strange scenario knowing you have to finish first or second and you’re 14 shots behind when you peg it up. I just had to try and get as many birdies as I could. I said to my caddie on the tenth tee that we needed a strong back-nine or the dream was gone. I hit a lovely shot into ten and that set me up for the rest of the round.”
Gallacher extends family's Ryder Cup affiliation
Gallacher’s qualification means he will become the second member of his family to play in the Ryder Cup, following in the footsteps of his uncle Bernard, who has played in the Ryder Cup eight times, and captained the side on three occasions. He is extremely proud to be continuing his family's affinity with the Ryder Cup, as well as adding to home club Bathgate's history in the event.
“When you come to Bathgate and see Eric Brown’s picture up there and my uncle Bernard’s picture up there, you realise the history. They’ve been up there since I was a kid and it’s great to be part of the Ryder Cup history of this club and especially in the Gallacher family.”
Gallacher also revealed that he is so busy in the run up to the event, he only has a 15-minute window between now and the week of the Ryder Cup to get fitted for his team clothing. However, he can't wait to get started and to be play at a course where he has been successful in the past.
Gallacher said: “I’ve played the course a lot and it’s a course that suits my eye. The greens are good and I seem to putt well on them. It’s close to my house, so I feel comfortable there and I’ve played it on my off weeks so I think familiarity is a big thing.”