Ryder Cup dream drives Scots golfer Stephen Gallacher

Stephen Gallacher
Gallacher's home course at Bathgate has produced two Ryder Cup captains

Golfer Stephen Gallacher has reaffirmed that his ultimate ambition is to play in the Ryder Cup, given his family's association with the glittering event.

Bernard Gallacher played in eight Ryder Cups and captained the European team on three occasions; now his nephew dreams of being chosen to face the Americans.

"It would be the pinnacle for me to play in the Ryder Cup, for the family tradition," he told BBC Scotland.

"It is definitely the one you want to be involved in at some stage."

Thirty-six-year-old Gallacher is just inside the top 100 in golf's world rankings, at 96.

At 10 under par on Saturday evening, he was in contention going in to the final day's play at the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre. However, his form faded and a one-over-par 72 earned him a joint-18th finish.

Gallacher realises that to be considered for inclusion in European captain Jose Maria Olazabal's team for the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois, he needs to win tournaments like that.

And he knows he must raise his game to secure a regular place at the game's biggest tournaments.

"It's a year-long process," he said. "You've got to be playing in the majors and the world golf events to have a chance.

"I just need to do as well as I can in every tournament to get my world ranking down to be playing in the majors.

"I think you've got a better chance of qualifying from being in those.

"You just need to get a break and do well in the right tournament to propel you up.

"If you're going to have a good year, a Ryder Cup year is the year to do it."

It is 15 years since Gallacher entered the European Tour and, in that time, he has also played in two US Opens, in 2005 and this year, but has yet to feature in the US Masters.

In the past two years, he has progressed beyond the cut in the Open and played in the PGA Championship. The challenge now is make the step up to winning events on the European Tour and to regular participation in the majors.

"I'm working hard all the time. It's fractions," he told The Golf Show on BBC Radio Scotland.

"If you take off half a shot a round, I'd have won three or four times in the last couple of years.

"It's such a small margin. It's just a case of working hard on the processes and making sure you give every shot 100 per cent."

If Gallacher can fulfil his dream of playing in a Ryder Cup, his photo on the walls of Bathgate Golf Course would be in good company: the course has produced two Ryder Cup captains in Eric Brown and his uncle, Bernard.

"You see how massive it is now," he said of the tournament.

"It's steadily getting bigger and bigger. It is definitely the one you want to be involved in at some stage."

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