Stephen Gallacher has lost more money matches to the likes of Scott Knowles, Simon Mackenzie and Stuart Johnston at Gullane than he cares to remember.
But the Lothians star is hoping the breaks they often get will go his way instead when he takes on Rory McIlroy & Co for a £3.5 million prize pot in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at the East Lothian venue next month.
“I must have played Gullane hundreds of times,” revealed Gallacher at a media event that marked a month to go before McIlroy and Phil Mickelson spearhead a star-studded cast for the event’s first visit to “Scotland’s Golf Coast”.
“I’ve mainly played with a lot of guys I played amateur golf with, the likes of Scott Knowles, who now manages my Foundation, Simon Mackenzie and Stuart Johnston.
“We play a lot of money matches – and I usually lose all the time, partly because I’m generally rubbish and also because they get the member’s bounce.
“So I know the course well and it doesn’t change much from the winter apart from the rough and the definition. The greens are unbelievable during the winter, they are such good surfaces so there’s no excuses here.”
While Gallacher hasn’t yet played the composite course that will be used for the event, he’s familiar with the holes on it – 16 on No.1 and two on the neighbouring No.2 layout.
“It’s as straightforward a course as you’ll play in terms of the layout, but a lot can change with the different wind,” added the 40-year-old.
“Hopefully that knowledge gives me an extra edge. Any tournaments where you go back to the same course every year it can give you a bit of continuity because you learn where to hit it and, more importantly, where to miss it. I’ve got that around here which most of the guys won’t have and that’s a big advantage.
“You see a lot of guys who will play certain courses well every year because they know them well and it suits their eye. I’ve played this course in different winds and no wind at all. I know there are certain pitfalls on certain holes that I’ll be accounting for in my game plan.
“So I certainly know what the course is going to bring, but it’s about what I bring to the course on the week that’s important.”
The infrastructure for one of the European Tour’s biggest events is starting to appear, while the members’ clubhouse re-opened on Monday following a £2.5 million renovation.
“We had a well-attended members’ evening last night when (Scottish Open championship director) Peter Adams gave a presentation,” reported club captain Robert Dick.
“Three hundred and fifty of our members have signed up to be volunteers and 1000 applied for season tickets so the level of enthusiasm about the event is terrific.”
Twelve players – eight Europeans and four Americans – from last year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles are in the field, which also includes a posse of major winners, including 2009 US PGA champion Y E Yang.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the golfing public,” said the aforementioned Adams as he delivered an unashamed sales pitch.
“If bought now, a daily ticket costs £30 to see the world No.1 (McIlroy) as well as the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in an Open competition on a great course with sweeping views. That is a fantastic prospect.”
He’s got a point, believe me!