Ryder Cup: Scottish rookie Stephen Gallacher excited ahead of debut
Last Updated: 02/09/14 3:43pm
Stephen Gallacher plays a shot during the final round of the Italian Open.
Stephen Gallacher says he cannot wait to make his debut in the Ryder Cup after being selected as one of Paul McGinley’s three wildcard picks.
The Scot sealed his place in the team with a superb showing at the Italian Open last weekend, where he just missed out on automatic qualification.
But he did enough – in particular, under huge pressure, firing 30 on the back nine on Friday afternoon – to prove to McGinley that he deserved his spot ahead of the likes of Luke Donald and Francesco Molinari.
Gallacher admits he was relieved to get the phone call on Monday night from McGinley.
“The pressure went off my shoulders. It was something to be part of and I’m delighted to have got that call,” he told Sky Sports News HQ, adding that McGinley had given him some inspiring words ahead of the Italian Open.
“Paul has been great to me all along, giving me advice. He just said ‘go and qualify for me – if not, you’ve done great anyway,’” he said.
“And then all he said was ‘you’re going to have a long day on Monday but I’ll phone you to let you know one way or the other’. He was right – it was a very long day on Monday.
“That back nine was huge for me, knowing that when I needed to produce the goods I could.”
Gallacher – nephew of former Europe captain Bernard Gallacher – will be the only Scot in the team at Gleneagles, a course he admits he loves playing.
“I can’t wait to get going. Making my debut, there is nowhere I’d rather be going than Gleneagles. It’s a course I really enjoy, I like it. I just can’t wait to get up there,” he said, adding that he knew where to go for advice about playing one of the biggest events in team sport.
"Paul has been great to me all along, giving me advice. He just said ‘go and qualify for me – if not, you’ve done great anyway."
“I’ll obviously be speaking to my uncle quite a bit, to get advice. Paul Lawrie is a good friend of mine as well. He has experience of it. Anyone who wants to give me advice, I’ll take it on board,” he said.
“It’s a pressure-cooker situation anyway. I’ve played a Walker Cup – I know it’s not the same stature - but team events are something I enjoy. I’ll play my own game and see how it goes.
“It’s exciting – it’s something I’ve wanted to play in all my life. The Ryder Cup has been a big part of my family. From a young kid it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Asked about the prospect of playing the deciding singles on the Sunday, Gallacher said: “You can’t practice for that but it’s why we play the game. To be in that situation I think it’s very exciting and if it does come to me I hope I can deliver the goods.”