Stephen Gallacher to use Gleneagles as a launchpad

Stephen Gallacher with wife Helen and son Jack. Picture: Jane Barlow. He is pictured below with Rory McIlroy at the after-party
Stephen Gallacher with wife Helen and son Jack. Picture: Jane Barlow. He is pictured below with Rory McIlroy at the after-party
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Stephen Gallacher took in every word uttered by Sir Alex Ferguson during his team talk to the European players at last week’s Ryder Cup.

He also used the opportunity to pick the brains of his 11 team-mates, including world No. 1 and four-times major winner Rory McIlroy.

Combined, the Lothians star reckons he has been given the insight he requires to rise in the world rankings and also be on the Ryder Cup stage again in two years’ time.

“Sir Alex was great in how he spoke,” said Gallacher when asked what he could use from his debut in the transatlantic tussle as part of plan to be on the team defending the trophy at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

“I intend to take some stuff from that and also from speaking with my team-mates as well. You know, it’s just finding the right pathway and scheduling.”

He also intends to pay more attention to statistics, having discovered how important they were to European captain Paul McGinley as he masterminded a 16.5-11.5 victory for Europe at Gleneagles.

“I’ve never done stats before, but Paul was heavily involved in the stats and if you can get a percentage here or there, slight help anywhere, it’s worth looking at,” he added.

“I’m also starting to do some fitness and gym work soon, because I’m getting to the ripe old age of 40 and you start to deteriorate (muscles), so I need to try to build it up. I’m going to work even harder, do whatever it takes, to try and get back to that (playing in a Ryder Cup).”

Qualifying for the 2016 team won’t start until next September, by which time Gallacher is hoping to have played in a full set of majors for the second year running. Apart from the US PGA Championship at Valhalla, where he missed the cut, the 39-year-old gave a good account of himself in those events this year. But, also thanks to the Ryder Cup, he’s discovered that he needs to plan his schedule differently in the future.

“I’m going to try to peak at better times because there’s a few mistakes I made this year,” admitted the double Dubai Desert Classic champion.

“I was peaking at the Scottish Open and The Open, and by the time I got to Firestone (for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and the US PGA I was running on empty.

“So I’m going to watch what I’m going to do with regard to playing before and after the majors next year. Maybe go out and play the week before and then take the week off after because the big events take so much out of you both mentally and physically. I spoke to a few boys last week and got their take on that sort of thing.”

Gallacher, who received a text from McGinley that was highly complimentary of his role at Gleneagles, was speaking as he prepared to set out in the Dunhill Links Championship, which he won a decade ago.

“I want to go up the world rankings as much as I can,” he said of his main goal between now and the end of the season.

“I’m not playing Portugal (next week) but have then got the World Match Play before the Final Series. Then, after a week off, I’m off to Sun City (for a debut appearance in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa). It’s pretty full on to be honest and then, after a little break over Christmas, it’s back again to the desert, where, of course, I’ll be defending the Dubai Desert Classic title again.”