Stephen Gallacher is hoping a golf tuition book sent to him by his uncle Bernard can stop this week’s Turkish Airlines Open being the final chapter in the story of his 2017 season.
The Lothians star just scraped into the opening Final Series event at the Regnum Carya resort in Belek, where a limited field sets out tomorrow in the battle for a $7million prize fund.
Gallacher needs a strong performance to advance to next week’s Nedbank Challenge and similarly in that event in South Africa to make the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
“These are three massive events that can be game-changing for your goals if you win one of them,” he said. “It’s important to be playing in these ones if you want to give the Ryder Cup a try and what a great opportunity to get yourself back into the top 100 or even top 50.
“Victor Dubuisson won here and then finished top 10 in Dubai. That’s really what got him into the 2014 Ryder Cup team. We’ve also seen Tyrrell Hatton win back-to-back recently during a hot spell and he’s almost a shoe-in for next Ryder Cup, which is almost a year away.”
Gallacher sat out this event a year ago and ended up having to fall back on his place in the top 40 on the all-time career money-list to keep his playing privileges.
He’s not got them back through finishing in the top 100 in this season’s Race to Dubai and now he’s hoping a decision to change his grip can pay dividends over the next three weeks.
“It’s been tough this year, to be honest, as the swing change I had to make last season due to a wrist problem has not bedded in fully,” he said.
“However, my uncle Bernard recent sent up John Jacobs’ book and that has led me to weakening my grip on the left hand.
“It’s the tough route as it feels horrendous, but it is going to be the best route for me. It’s something that needed to be addressed. The shots I was hitting in practice last week as I worked with my coach, Alan McCloskey, are better and that’s what matters.”
Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood heads a line-up on Turkey’s Meditteranean coast that also includes last year’s Open winner Henrik Stenson and new WGC-HSBC champion Justin Rose.
“Justin has a very robust swing,” said Gallacher of his 2014 Ryder Cup team-mate. “He’s one of those players who doesn’t really have a weakness. People might say that he didn’t get as much out of his putting as he could have, but he’s gone to Phil Kenyon and that part of his game has improved.
“He just doesn’t hit many bad shots and when he’s on form he is great to watch. He has big b**** as well. He had a chance to win The Masters and I think he is destined to win that one day.”
Richie Ramsay, who sits a career-best 24th in the Race to Dubai, spearheads a Scottish contingent that, in addition to Gallacher, also includes David Drysdale, Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson.
“You can gain so much,” said Ramsay of the three Final Series events, which carry a total prize pot of $22.5 million.
“Access to WGCs, for example, and, of course, world ranking points. It’s based around money. Money relates to rankings and that relates to what you events you get into. You have to make as much money as possible.
“It could be a ground-breaking year for me by the end of these three events.”