STEPHEN GALLACHER received a flood of texts from his football friends after stirring up a desert storm earlier this month.
But, with all due respect to them, the message left by a fellow golfer congratulating the Lothians star on his Dubai double was the one he’s probably saved.
Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley was on a road trip in California as Gallacher beat a field containing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to become the first player in the Desert Classic’s 25-year history to retain the title.
The Irishman has also said he won’t be publicly commenting on individuals as the battle continues for places in his team at Gleneagles in September.
But neither of those factors stopped McGinley being among those to congratulate the 39-year-old on a victory that boosted his hopes of a Ryder Cup debut on home soil.
“Paul sent me a lovely text,” Gallacher told the Edinburgh Evening News as he prepared to take on Ernie Els in tomorrow’s first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona. He said that ‘there’s a long way to go and lots still to do but just keep doing what you are doing’ and he’d be in touch for a coffee soon.”
Gallacher enjoyed the occasional drink stronger than a coffee as he celebrated a win that catapulted him up to 37th in the world.
“It’s been a busy time since Dubai, having a few dinners here and there to celebrate and also making the draw for the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup, which was a nice thing to do,” he said. “It was almost a case of having a daft week immediately after Dubai but it was back to business last week.
“I had a TaylorMade day at Wentworth on the Tuesday, had a fitness session in Manchester on Wednesday then went down to The Renaissance on Friday before heading out to Arizona on Saturday.”
Gallacher overcame the additional pressure of playing with both McIlroy (three times) and Woods (twice) to earn a place in UAE sporting folklore.
But he admitted the reaction to his third European Tour title triumph had taken him completely by surprise. “I received lots of congratulations from people like John Collins, Luca Vialli, Neil Lennon, Kris Commons, Scott Brown, Anthony Stokes, John Hughes and Jackie McNamara,” he revealed.
“That was nice and I was so overawed because I didn’t realise my win had made such an impact back home. It just shows that when the likes of Woods and Mcilroy are in a field the interest in the event intensifies.”