Stephen Gallacher back in the swing of things

Stephen Gallacher is gearing up for a massive finish to 2013. Picture: Getty Images
Stephen Gallacher is gearing up for a massive finish to 2013. Picture: Getty Images
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STEPHEN GALLACHER is ready to put his back into the European Tour’s new ‘Final Series’ after finding the perfect posture for his golf swing.

The Lothians star hurt his back washing a car just before the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles this year and almost missed that event.

He was then forced to pull out of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor the following week and was worried that it could hamper his hopes of qualifying for next year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

But, since being recommended to see Kevin Duffy, a former golf pro who now works in golf fitness and specialises in posture, Gallacher is feeling better than ever.

It’s perfect timing, too, for the 38-year-old as he prepares for a huge end to his 2013 campaign, which started with a victory in the Dubai Desert Classic and has now seen him take over as the Scottish No 1.

Tomorrow Gallacher tees off in the BMW Masters in Shanghai, where he’s also playing next week in the HSBC Champions event, then it’s the Turkish Airlines Open.

The ‘Final Series’ reaches its conclusion with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, but that’s not where Gallacher’s season will end.

He’s then off to Australia for the World Cup of Golf, which will see him join forces again with Martin Laird, while he’s also hoping to qualify for the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa after that.

Currently sitting 56th in the world rankings and needing to climb into the top 50 in order to earn a first Masters invite, it’s an exciting spell for Gallacher and he’s delighted to be heading into it without any injury worries.

“I had to try and do something with my back so I’m working with Kevin Duffy, who is a postural expert,” said Gallacher during a session with the Englishman at Kingsfield Golf Centre at Linlithgow.

“I got in touch with him through my cousin Kirsty’s husband [former England rugby player Paul Simpson] after he’d heard I was missing tournaments through injury and you certainly don’t want that to be happening in a Ryder Cup year.

“He encouraged me to get in touch with Kevin, who I knew had already helped a few other boys on Tour who’d been struggling with various injuries.

“He’s realigned my hips to get my muscles working in a different way and it’s been good so far. The difference has been unbelievable as I feel as though I can practice again without having to worry about my back being a problem.”

Gallacher, sitting 14th in the Race to Dubai and on course for his best-ever season as a pro, is trying not to put himself under too much pressure as he bids to follow in his uncle Bernard’s footsteps by playing in the Ryder Cup.

But he’s more determined than ever to add his name to the list who’ve faced the Americans in both the Walker Cup and Ryder Cup after getting a taste of team golf again in the Seve Trophy earlier this month.

“It was massive and has certainly whetted my appetite for team golf,” he admitted. “Paul McGinley got Jose Maria Olazabal to show the DVD that he’d played for his players at last year’s Ryder Cup and it was so inspiring. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

“Just being involved in a team event again was brilliant. Being in that environment makes you want to do anything you can to be in the Ryder Cup team, so no stone is going to be unturned as far as I am concerned.”

Of all the venues on his schedule over the coming few weeks, Gallacher is particularly looking forward to visiting Royal Melbourne for the World Cup.

“I love Royal Melbourne, having finished fifth in the Heineken Classic there in 2004,” he revealed. “It’s my favourite course in the world. It is so well designed and an old-fashioned track that’s always in fantastic condition.

“You have to be so precise. It’s not a course that you can overpower. I even bought [course designer] Alister MacKenzie’s book and it tells you everything when you see people like Nick Faldo taking pictures of it and Greg Norman talking about it in such glowing terms.”