Stephen Gallacher admitted that the experience of making his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles today threw him a little ‘out of rhythm’.
The Scot, 38, teamed-up with the talisman of the European team, Ian Poulter, in the third match of the opening session at Gleneagles.
The pair received a predictably huge ovation from a partisan home crowd on the first tee and throughout their round. That, though, was not enough to prevent them going down 5&4 to American rookies Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.
The European duo were off their game for much of the 14 holes they played, managing just one birdie between them courtesy of a four at the second by Gallacher.
Afterwards, the Scot was honest enough to admit that the occasion perhaps got to him more than he had been anticipating.
“I think, with your first Ryder Cup, obviously there’s a bit of excitement and you don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “It took me maybe five or six holes to get into it. I was a bit out of rhythm but I would rather have the fans on you and cheering from you than not.”
“It was great to get going. Just a pity about the result, really." - Stephen Gallacher
Asked if felt under extra pressure to live up to his ‘local hero’ tag and produce some big performances this week, Gallacher added: “I don’t feel any more pressure at all, to be honest. It’s not down to me or anything like that. I know the fans here are very partisan and they will be cheering us on for the next couple of days.”
Gallacher was given a rapturous reception by the fans as walked onto the first tee a little before 8am this morning and admitted it had been very ‘special’.
“It’s something I definitely will remember for the rest of life,” he said. “It was great to get going. Just a pity about the result, really.”
After their heavy defeat, both Gallacher and Poulter were benched by captain Paul McGinley for the afternoon foursomes session. That, though, said Gallacher, was something he was expecting.
“I knew I wasn’t playing this afternoon,” he said. “It’s very difficult to play everybody in five matches in the Ryder Cup.
“I was fully aware that I was going out once today and that I could have a rest this afternoon to see exactly what was going to happen on the board.
“I knew I wasn’t playing five coming in this week, and I probably didn’t want to. Not many people have been able to play five and win five, and the reason for that is because it’s very tiring.
“I’m 38. We’ve got some younger pups on the team that might be able to do it better than I can.”
Meanwhile, Gallacher’s teammate Poulter echoed his sentiments about the first tee experience and the outcome of their match.
“To walk to the first tee with Stevie, at home for him, that was a special moment,” said the Englishman. “He’s going to remember that for a long time and I’ll remember it as well. It was an amazing atmosphere but, obviously, we couldn’t do our bit to get them really loud and that’s the bit that, for us, was disappointing.”
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