Gallacher ready for huge week
Stephen Gallacher knows his 2014 Ryder Cup destiny is in his own hands at The 71° OPEN D'ITALIA Presented by DAMIANI this week.
The Scot needs to win or finish runner-up alongside no more than one other player at the Circolo Golf Torino - La Mandria to leapfrog Graeme McDowell and secure the final automatic spot on the European team for the event taking place in his homeland at Gleneagles next month.
The 39 year old is in high spirits after finishing in a share for seventh at the D+D REAL Czech Masters, where Welshman Jamie Donaldson confirmed his place in Paul McGinley’s party with victory.
Gallacher, who is making his debut on the Turin course, said: “There are a lot of things on my mind this week. The most difficult thing for me this week is trying to focus just on the golf.
“If I play well and finish in the top two then I am a Ryder Cup player and that is something that I have dreamed about my whole life.
“It’s quite funny that everyone’s asking if am nervous about the week ahead but the best place for me to be at the moment is on the golf course.
“That is where I can think about my next shot and my processes and block the other stuff out. It is when you come off the course that you just cannot escape it.
“Everyone wants to ask about The Ryder Cup, or talk to you about it or just wish you all the best which is all great but, as I said, it makes it very difficult to get it out of your mind which is what a part of you wants to do.
“But the whole thing is really exciting for me – that is the main feeling I have.
“To be a Scotsman who lives 35 miles from Gleneagles trying to get into the team brings a lot of hope and expectation and pressure, but most of all it is an exciting week for me.”
A year of hard work has led Gallacher into this position and, despite the intense pressure placed on his shoulders, the three time European Tour winner is relishing the final challenge.
The nephew of three time Ryder Cup Captain Bernard Gallacher said: “There are a few ways to handle it I suppose and I am going with the fact that it’s an exciting position to be in and an exciting time.
“It was the same kind of feeling I had earlier this year in Dubai when I was defending my title and was paired with Rory (McIlroy) and Tiger (Woods) in the first two rounds. I just embraced it and enjoyed it.
“This has been a year-long process to try and make the Ryder Cup team and I am still in there with a chance to qualify by rights and I am actually quite proud of that.
“I had to have the best year of my career to try and make the team and I have done that so far – I just need one more big week and that is what I am trying to do.”
Europe Captain McGinley will be keeping a close eye on Gallacher this week as he returns to action following a shoulder problem.
And Gallacher has revealed the Irishman has already given him some wise advise.
He said: “I just spoke to him for five minutes there. He just wished me luck and said what I am sure he has said to everyone else near the team.
“He told me to play well and to enjoy it and try not to put too much pressure on me.”