50 years on, Bernard Gallacher says PGA Championship was best win
The people coming up and shaking his hand - and asking for selfies, of course - remember Bernard Gallacher as a winning Ryder Cup captain and the former Wentworth club professional.
But, as he walked round the West Course watching his nephew, Stephen, few probably knew that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bathgate man becoming the first Scot to win the PGA Championship.
It was called the Schweppes Open in 1969 and Gallacher’s victory at Ashburnham is often overlooked due to the fact it isn’t among his ten European Tour wins as a result of that circuit not being established until 1972.
“It was the first British tournament I won,” the 70-year-old told the Edinburgh Evening News. “When people talk about how many wins you’ve had on the European Tour, they actually forget about that one.
“I was just 20 at the time and it was a memorable win. Indeed, people talk about me being a winning Ryder Cup captain, which was obviously fantastic, but the best moment in my career was winning the PGA Championship.”
Gallacher claimed the title by a shot and was the only Scot to have his name on the trophy until Colin Montgomerie recorded the first of three straight successes in 1998.
“I felt after that I had a chance of making it as a pro golfer,” added Ascot-based Gallacher, who is off to the PGA Cup in Texas next week in his role as vice-captain of the PGA.