Stephen Gallacher aims to seize Ryder Cup chance

Stephen Gallacher had trouble sleeping as the Ryder Cup race neared its end
Stephen Gallacher had trouble sleeping as the Ryder Cup race neared its end
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Stephen Gallacher reckons he’s grabbed his only chance to play in a Ryder Cup on Scottish soil.

This month’s match at Gleneagles is the first in the ‘Home of Golf’ since the 1973 event at Muirfield.

In four years’ time, it’s being held in France, with more Continental countries set to follow on after that.

“I’ve dreamed about this all my life and I’ve worked very hard to get it,” admitted the Lothians star after earning his deserved wildcard.

“I knew I’d have to have the best year of my life to qualify and I’m delighted to have done it, having put a plan in place to achieve that. It’s been 40 years since a Ryder Cup was in Scotland. My generation probably won’t see it again back here.

“This was my only chance and I’m chuffed to bits that I’ve done enough.”

Gallacher, the first Scot to earn a wildcard since Colin Montgomerie a decade ago, feared he’d blown his chance when missing the cut in last month’s US PGA Championship in Louisville.

But he ended the year-long qualifying campaign with two top-ten finishes to be picked by Paul McGinley along with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

“I didn’t really know what to do and I’m still in a bit of a daze,” replied Gallacher to being asked what he’d done on Monday as he waited on McGinley’s phone call to break the good news.

“We went for a bit of dinner with the family and then, when I got the call at half past eight, I was delighted.

“I had a couple of glasses to celebrate.”

Gallacher emerged as a contender for Gleneagles when he made a successful defence of the Dubai Desert Classic title in February.

But it took the biggest effort of his career to secure a spot in the event’s 40th staging, an event that will see McGinley lock horns with five-times Open champion Tom Watson.

“I tried to take my mind off it,” added the 39-year-old of the agonising wait he faced after falling a shot short of claiming the last automatic berth from Graeme McDowell.

“Paul said to me in Italy that ‘I’ll phone you regardless to tell you whether you’re in or out but it will be a long day for you’.

“He was right - it was long. It’s been tough the last couple of months, to be honest. It’s been tough to get sleeping because the whole process has been coming to an end. I’ll sleep now, though.”