FORMER Ryder Cup Captain and Scottish golfing legend Bernard Gallacher was in a critical condition in hospital in Aberdeen today after suffering a suspected heart attack at a speaking engagement in the city.
The 64 year-old Scot, who led the European golf team to a dramatic victory over America in 1995, was admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Thursday night after collapsing at an event where he was due to make an after diner speech.
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian confirmed that Mr Gallacher had been admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for treatment. She said: “He is in a critical condition.”
His nephew Stephen Gallacher, who withdrew today from the Welsh Open because of a back injury, said he understood his uncle was in a “critical but stable” condition.
Stephen, who was runner up in last weekend’s Johnnie Walker golf championship at Gleneagles, said: “My family is in disarray at the moment and it is obviously a worrying situation. We are all anxious.“
Mr Gallacher, who was born in Bathgate, played in the Ryder Cup eight times and was non-playing captain of the European Team in 1991, 1993 and 1995. He lost the first two matches but led the European side to a stunning victory on American soil in 1995 when the European team beat America by 14½ to 13½ points at the Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York.
It is not known whether his wife Lesley, and daughter Kirsty, a Sky Television sports presenter, have travelled to Scotland to be at his bedside.
Mr Gallacher began playing golf when he was only eleven He won the 1967 Scottish Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship and turned professional the same year, going on to win the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award in 1968.
In 1969, at the age of 20, he became the youngest player to represent Great Britain and Ireland in the Ryder Cup up to that time. He also recorded his first win as a professional that year, taking the PGA Championship title.
Between 1974 and 1984 he accumulated anther ten wins on the European Tour. He also finished in the Top 10 on the European Tour Order of Merit five times between 1972 and 1982, with a best placing of 3rd in 1974.
Mr Gallacher later joined the European Seniors Tour, winning the Mobile Cup in 2002. He was also the professional at the prestigious Wentworth Club for 25 years until he left the post in 1996. He has also been a regular golf commentator on BBC Radio Five Live.