Stephen Gallacher blown away by first experience of Masters at Augusta National
Last Updated: 08/04/14 11:18am
Scotland's Stephen Gallacher is one of 24 players who will be making their Masters debut on Thursday
Stephen Gallacher admits he has been blown away by his first taste of the Masters and, in particular, the hallowed course at Augusta National.
The Scotsman, 39, is one of 24 rookies in the field this week and has been doing his best to get up to speed with the quirks that make Augusta such a unique test.
However, Gallacher has acknowledged he was not prepared for just how spectacular the course would prove when finally seen with his own eyes.
“It’s passed my expectations, it’s better than I thought it was going to be,” he told Sky Sports. “I’ve been 18 years trying to get here, so once you get here it’s pretty special.
“It’s so different (to other tournaments). It’s different to the other majors I’ve played as well.
“It’s just the way the course sets up; what people don’t understand – and what I didn’t understand – is the undulations and the way the greens are. Until you’re here it just doesn’t look like it does on TV, it’s a lot worse.”
Conventional wisdom suggests that rookies don’t win at Augusta with Fuzzy Zoeller the last man to do so back in 1979.
"It’s just the way the course sets up; what people don’t understand – and what I didn’t understand – is the undulations and the way the greens are. Until you’re here it just doesn’t look like it does on TV, it’s a lot worse."
But with so many first-timers in the field this year – and doubts surrounding a number of the favourites – the odds of that statistic changing have never looked better.
Gallacher believes the key to performing well on his first outing in Georgia is to try and keep things as “normal” as possible throughout the week.
“It’s generally been tough for debutants to do really well, but you’ve got to be in it to win as they say,” the Scot continued. “I’m just quite happy to take in the experience and prepare as normal.
“The hard thing is to prepare like it’s a normal event and not over-practice, try too hard, so I’m just going to try and take it in and play as normal.
“All I can do is prepare normally. I prepare to win every week and if it happens, it happens.”
In a bid to boost his chances Gallacher is trying to absorb knowledge from past champions and, having already gone around with Sandy Lyle, has a practice round scheduled with two-time champ Jose Maria Olazabal on Tuesday.
“It’s about getting a game-plan. The hard thing here is that there are so many places where they can put the flag that you’ve got to learn where to come from, what side of the fairway, where to miss it,” he added.
“I’m going to play with Jose Maria Olazabal so I’m picking the brains of guys who have won it.”