Paul McGinley has announced Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher as one of his wildcard picks for this month’s Ryder Cup in Gleneagles. Gallacher will be joined by Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, along with the initial nine qualifiers.
The Bathgate man, whose uncle Bernard captained and played for Team Europe, was delighted to get a pick.
“It's massive for me and my family,” said the Dubai Desert Classic champion. “It's been a goal of mine all of my days. (Yesterday) was a long day (but) a couple of drinks helped settle me down.”
"He grabbed it with both hands." - Paul McGinley on Stephen Gallacher
Gallacher got the call from McGinley around half past eight yesterday. The 39-year-old reacted to McGinley’s good news saying, ‘That’s brilliant wee man’.
Although, McGinley revealed it was Stephen Gallacher’s brilliant third place finish in the Italian Open that cemented his place in the Ryder Cup team.
“He needed a big performance,” said the Irishman. “The afternoon on Friday was when he really showed he wanted to be a Ryder Cup player.
“What he did, and how he did it, all credit to him. He had to earn his place and he grabbed it with both hands.”
Poulter and Westwood get wildcard picks
Three-time Ryder Cup winner Ian Poulter will defend his flawless record in the biennial match at Gleneagles after receiving a wildcard.
Poulter is a talisman for team Europe in the event, although he has struggled this year, his last top ten coming in the St Jude Classic back in June.
McGinley acknowledged this, but maintained he just couldn’t be left out. “There’s other reasons why Ian Poulter got a pick,” he stated.
"I guarantee I'll be ready.” - Ian Poulter
Poulter was said to be ‘a bundle of energy’ on the phone when he got wind of the news. He reacted with similar buoyancy on the phoneline today.
“Absolutely delighted,” said the Englishman. “To get the call was amazing. I can't wait to be at Gleneagles. I proud to be a pick. Can't wait to get there. It means a lot to me. I guarantee I'll be ready.”
According to the European captain, Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood will travel to the Ryder Cup as a result of his strong finishes in the PGA Championship and at The Barclays.
“Lee’s performance in August showed me he wanted to be on this team,” explained McGinley.
“It came down to form between him and Donald. Lee slightly tipped him.”
Former world No.1 Luke Donald was the biggest name to miss out on a place in the European team. It was news McGinley found difficult to break to the man who hit his first Ryder Cup shot as his partner.
"It was a difficult call." - Paul McGinley
"I've partnered Luke twice, in 2004 and 2006, and vice-captained him in 2010 and 2012,” said McGinley. “I forged a very strong relationship with him.”
“His Ryder Cup record is outstanding and he will no doubt go on to make many more appearances in the Ryder Cup. It was a difficult call but one I had to do in the interests of the European team.”