Those of you who have watched Miguel Angel Jimenez’s warm-up routine, which involves the kind of eye-watering stretches, bends and contortions that were edited out of the Kama Sutra, will appreciate the lengths golfers go to in an effort to bolster their competitive longevity.

“I’d like to make over 700 tour appearances and give Jimenez a run for his money,” said Stephen Gallacher of the veteran Spaniard’s record haul of 707 outings on the European circuit. “If I need to do his stretching routine then fair enough. I’d like to take on his red wine too.”

At 46, Gallacher is not quite ready for the senior tour just yet but he is one of the elder statesmen on the main European scene. The advancing years have not diminished his ambitions, though. “I want to be out here into my 50s,” added the Ryder Cup Scot. 

“I’d love to do another four or five years. I’m on 582 events at the moment and 600 is a milestone to reach in 2021. Next season will also be my 25th year on tour so it’s all teed-up nicely. Another win, obviously, would be brilliant.”

Gallacher is looking forward with renewed optimism, energy and enthusiasm. The sooner the bells chime to usher in a new year the better because 2020 has been a lamentable year of terrible personal grief for the three-time tour champion.

“It’s been s***e, one of those you just want to forget,” he said. “It started when I lost one of my best mates, then another of my great friends lost his father, another friend’s wife died suddenly and, of course, I lost my own dad.

“It all happened in the space of four months. It was very hard to take and difficult to get motivated to play golf after that.”

Gallacher’s dad Jim, the younger brother of Ryder Cup great Bernard, was only 67 when he died in the summer. It was a sudden, savage loss of a well-kent man who was steeped in golf and fiercely proud of his son’s achievements. “Whenever I was at a tournament he would praise the good shots and slate the bad ones,” reflected Gallacher of the man he called his No 1 fan and No 1 critic. 

“Sometimes, you’d get a wee bit angry at him when he did criticise but in the cold light of day you’d think ‘maybe he was right?’. Perhaps his timing could have been better on occasions. But I think that’s a father’s privilege. They are allowed to do that.

“I’d always phone him when I’d done well. When I didn’t do so well, I’d maybe avoid phoning him as I knew I’d get a bit of stick. But he was always like that. He was a huge part of my career.

“I played in the shadow of my uncle Bernard for a long time and that was tough. You are always going to get column inches and coverage because of the name. I had to get through the pressures of that.

“When you are young, you perhaps try too hard to please people and do well. It comes to a point when you just have to trust your own ability and get on with it. When you realise that, then that’s when you can make inroads in the game and start to win things.

“My dad had obviously watched uncle Bernard’s success and he wanted me to be a success too. He wasn’t hard on me but he would tell me if I was doing something wrong. Nobody was more proud of my success than him.”

From Scottish Boys’ Strokeplay champion to Scottish Men’s Amateur champion, to a Walker Cup appearance and up to the rarefied air of a European Tour winner and Ryder Cup player, Gallacher has certainly made his family proud with his various golfing exploits. His off-course endeavours, through his own Foundation, has underlined his generosity of spirit and wider sense of duty and awareness.

This weekend, Gallacher’s Foundation will stage an online draw to raise funds for two charities - Aberlour Child Care Trust and River Kids in West Lothian – with memorabilia donated by the great and the good of Scottish sport and beyond. 

“However bad my year has been, there are people way worse off than ourselves,” he said. “I’d love to get through the £20,000 barrier so the two charities get five figures each. When you’re in a fortunate position like me you have to give something back.”
In 2021, meanwhile, Gallacher is looking to get back to what he does best. 

“I can draw a line under this year and move on because I feel there’s plenty still left in the tank,” he said.