• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Gallacher hopes little Murray magic rubs off after meeting

You just can't win.

Stephen Gallacher, left, needed winter wear last July but is struggling to stay hydrated such is the heat at Castle Stuart this week
Stephen Gallacher, left, needed winter wear last July but is struggling to stay hydrated such is the heat at Castle Stuart this week

As the Highlands basked in soaring temperatures, and the peely-wally population traipsed around shimmering Castle Stuart with faces and necks so painfully red you would think they had just been napalmed, Stephen Gallacher was suffering slightly.

"I've had a cold for over a week now and I've got antibiotics to try and shake it off," sniffled Gallacher, on the kind of sun-drenched day that has been a stranger to the sodden Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open over the past couple of years. "Normally you're trying to get water off your body up here but now I'm trying to get water in to my body. It's hard to rehydrate, I'm drinking so much water but it's like playing somewhere in the Middle East, which is strange for here."

The conditions may have been decidedly un-Scottish but Gallacher, and the rest of his countryman, are in their element this week and the 38-year-old has plenty of reason to be chipper. On Sunday night, despite a share of eighth place in the French Open, Gallacher was pipped to the final place in next week's Open Championship off the European Tour's order of merit by the meagre margin of €888 by his compatriot Marc Warren. Some 24 hours later, the Scot, by then installed as the first reserve for the third major of the campaign, was informed that he would be on his way to Muirfield after all as John Daly withdrew.

"When I found out I'd missed out, I had a few beers to take my mind off it," admitted Gallacher, who no doubt had a couple of extra gargles purely for medicinal purposes with that aforementioned cold lingering. "I woke up with a wee hangover but to find out I was first reserve was great because I knew I had a right good chance. To then get up the road and find out I'd made it in so early in the week was brilliant because it means I can put the Open to one side and concentrate on this event."

Gallacher was probably not the only one feeling the effects of over indulgence on Monday morning. Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph whipped up some fairly boisterous celebrations across the nation as the sparkling success of SW19 touched all and sundry. A Scottish winner of this week's Scottish Open is hardly likely to be drenched by the same tsunami of tributes that rolled over Murray, of course.

The Dunblane man thundered and thrashed his way to a momentous victory with the expectations of the entire UK on his shoulders. Sporting pressure comes in various shapes and sizes, though, and for the home hopefuls in the Highlands, the desire and drive to succeed in their own backyard remains as strong as ever. It's been 14 years since a Scot won the domestic showpiece and with a 19-strong tartan army competing, the optimism, fuelled by the current feel-good factor coursing through Caledonia, is high in the ranks.

"Of course there's not the pressure that Andy had," said Gallacher, who was fourth in the 2010 Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and bridged a nine-year title gap on the European Tour this season when he won the Dubai Desert Classic. "He had the whole of Britain looking at him and he was never out of the papers. 'Is he going to win? Is he going to do it?' He's used to that pressure. It's how you use it and we are the same. You can't let it get to you and try too hard, you just have to embrace it and enjoy it. This is what we practise for, playing in front of your home fans and playing in big tournaments.

"Everyone is different and some handle pressure better than others. You need belief to put yourself in a position to win the tournament and my belief has obviously been helped by me winning again this year."

Having met Scotland's tennis titan during a holiday in Abu Dhabi at the start of the year, Gallacher got the opportunity to witness at first hand the Murray machine in action. There were various facets that impressed him but the one thing that has rubbed off on Gallacher is, well, the regular rub down.

"What I got out of it most was how much physio Andy gets," admitted the former Walker Cup player, who has been nursing a niggling back problem. "He'll get physio before he plays and afterwards as well. I was struggling with my back but now I'm getting physio before and after a round, too. I was speaking to my Uncle Bernard [former Ryder Cup captain] about this and he says he wishes he could have his time again and follow Bernhard Langer's example by getting physio before and after he played. That's been great for the longevity of his career, so that's become a key part of my routine now."

Team Murray has been bolstered by the coaching nous of Ivan Lendl but Gallacher won't be seeking any advice from the celebrated Czech, who had a stint as a professional golfer after a glittering tennis career. "I don't think he broke 90," said Gallacher with a smile. Golf is a different ball game.

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

169122