Stephen tees off in the fourball at Ryder Cup

Europe's Stephen Gallacher during the practice session
Europe's Stephen Gallacher during the practice session

Stephen Gallacher was met with huge cheers from the crowds as he entered the Ryder Cup arena at Gleneagles around 8am this morning (Friday).

Gallacher, who was paired with Ian Poulter, was competing against the USA’s Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

In the build up to today’s play, the Linlithgow-based golfer said his thoughts would be of his late grandmother when play eventually gets underway.

The Scottish rookie, nephew of former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, was a captain’s pick by Paul McGinley following an exceptional effort to qualify at the Italian Open.

But, just days after that elation, his grandmother, Millie, passed away.

“I went from the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows in just a few days,” Stephen said. “I’d just got into the team when I heard my gran was going in for a routine operation and was getting kept in but passed away.

“It was a tough time but that’s life and it puts things into perspective. She knew I was in the team and was proud of me. Now I’ll do her proud.” Despite recognising the enormity of his achievement in fulfilling a “life’s dream” in qualifying for a Ryder Cup in his home country, Stephen is still getting used to the publicity his place has elicited.

“The reaction has been more than I expected. I don’t know if it’s down to me being the only Scot or that it’s more than 40 years since a Ryder Cup was played here.”

Stephen is confident that, when the time comes, his nerves will hold up.

“I’ve spoken to my uncle a couple of times as well as taking advice from back-room staff and they are all saying that I should go and enjoy it.

“As for the first tee in a Ryder Cup, you can’t replicate that anywhere.

‘‘Can I be any more nervous than holing a putt for a birdie or eagle to win a tournament or get into a play-off? Nervousness or excitement is only really how much pressure you put on yourself. I guess I’m a bit of both – nervous and excited.”