LOTHIANS star Stephen Gallacher has called for the “clever people” to sort out the controversy overshadowing the European Tour’s new ‘Final Series’.
Former Open champion Ernie Els is boycotting new week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai after Tour officials deemed players had to play in two of the three events leading into it. His decision was backed by Lee Westwood and now former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is threatening to quit the European Tour due to demands he believes are unfair.
Gallacher, one of the players teeing up in all four events, offered his view on the situation after returning to the Montgomerie Maxx Royal early this morning to complete his opening round in the Turkish Airlines Open after yesterday’s delayed start due to thunderstorms.
“I think it’s a shame that someone like Charl is threatening to quit the Tour,” said the Dubai Desert Classic champion after signing for a four-under-par 68. “It’s also a shame that we’re hearing criticism from the likes of Ernie Els and Lee Westwood.
“We don’t need this sort of thing at this time of the year and during such important events for the Tour. But I think when these guys speak the Tour has to listen to them and try to work out a solution.”
Gallacher, who had three holes to play to complete his round and birdied the last, added: “I think there’s only a few teething problems. But we need to wait until the end of the ‘Final Series’ and make decisions then. The FedEx Cup in the US didn’t work straight away, either. They had a couple of goes at that before they got it right.
“The European Tour just has to take the criticism at the moment then decide what to do. It could be that changes need to be made to make it better.”
He pointed to injured Dutchman Joost Luiten hitting one shot in the opening event, the BMW Masters in Shanghai, then withdrawing as an example of that.
“I think there are things that have perhaps not been planned properly,” said Gallacher. “The Joost Luiten situation, for example. There are also guys playing the four events that don’t get points in the Race to Dubai. But who’s to say who is right and who is wrong? Let’s allow the clever people to decide.”
After failing to break 70 in any of his eight rounds in the two events in China, Gallacher was delighted with an opening effort here that left him four shots behind clubhouse leader Darren Fichardt.
“I played good, giving myself a lot of chances and it’s always nice to finish with a birdie,” said the top Scot in the Race to Dubai. “I didn’t play well in the two events in China at all. I just lost my form and struggled on two tough courses.
“I was shooting level-par when guys are shooting 24-under. But I played well in the last round in the HSBC Champions after working out what I was doing wrong.”