Daily Round-Up: Stephen Gallacher undergoes hand surgery

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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Stephen Gallacher is facing a lay-off until at least the Spanish Open in a month’s time after undergoing an operation on his left hand, which has been bothering the Ryder Cup player since last May.

It first flared up on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, forcing Gallacher to withdraw from the European Tour’s flagship event despite having a cortisone injection.

With the same treatment since then having failed to make it any better, the 41-year-old decided to use a planned break in his schedule to get it sorted once and for all.

“The operation was performed by Doug Campbell, a top hand surgeon,” said Gallacher in a statement released by his Edinburgh-based management company, bounce. “He cut the tendon sheath away and there was a lot of inflammation.

“This has been bothering me since last May, when I was forced to pull out of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth before the first round. I’ve had cortisone injections, the latest one in December, but it’s hindered me on the course, on the practice range and also in the gym.

“It’s been a blessing really that it flared up again and has led to an operation being required as it means I can get back out there not worrying about it.”

The three-time European Tour winner will have his arm in a sling for 10 days before being able to start putting and chipping when the stitches come out.

“I have been told that I need to watch how I practice, which means I won’t be able to hit off mats any more,” he added. “That means I will need to speak to my good friend, Robert Arkley, to see if he will get me a nice area of grass to hit balls from at Kingsfield Golf Centre.”

With Gallacher having dropped down the world rankings since his Ryder Cup appearance at Gleneagles and Marc Warren also having slipped in the standings, Russell Knox will be the sole Scot in next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas.

The top 64 as of Sunday were assured of spots in the field but American Patton Kizzire and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, ranked 65th and 66th respectively, will get in due to Henrik Stenson skipping the event and Jim Furyk being sidelined with a wrist injury.

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Thai-based Scot Simon Yates was pleased with his top-10 finish behind Australian Scott Hend in the True Thailand Classic at Black Mountain in Hua Hin.

“Overall it was a good week and I’m already close to making my card on the Asian Tour for next year,” said the 45-year-old Glaswegian.

Yates, who lives on the Black Mountain course, signed off with a two-under-par 70 as he chalked up his first top-10 finish in a European Tour event for nearly nine years.

“It was a great start to the round yesterday with three birdies in the first four holes,” he added.

“I hit a great shot into the fifth green thinking I was close but got up there and was on the front fringe. I had a straightforward chip which I didn’t hit well and missed the putt.

“After that I made 13 pars with a couple of good up and downs and some good birdie opportunities but didn’t take them.”

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For the third consecutive year, US Women’s Open sectional qualifying will be conducted in England, Japan, China and Korea.

Two courses – Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England and Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Korea – return as host sites.

Lan Hai International Golf Club in China and Otone Country Club in Japan will host qualifying for the first time.

The event at the Buckinghamshire takes place on 25 May.

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Rhe European Tour today announced plans for a Ryder Cup Trophy Tour, aimed at building excitement ahead of the event at Hazeltine.

The Ryder Cup Trophy Tour will be officially launched by European captain Darren Clarke at Royal Portrush on 12 April, with the trophy itself arriving by helicopter from Gleneagles – the site of Europe’s triumph in 2014.

The following day, Northern Irish golf fans will have the opportunity to get up close and personal to the trophy, when it is put on public display at City Hall in Belfast, from 9.00am-10.30am and The Dome at Victoria Square from 11am-9pm.

The roadshow will also visit France and Italy, the next two European countries to host the contest in 2018 and 2022 respectively. The Tour will be in Paris from 28-30 June and in Milan from 13-15 September.

“As captain of the European team, I’m delighted that so many people across the continent will get the opportunity to share their excitement and take part in The Ryder Cup Trophy Tour,” said Clarke.

“I hope that European golf fans will take the opportunity to come and see the Trophy when it’s on display and get behind Team Europe, ahead of the match at Hazeltine in September.”

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World No 1 Jordan Spieth continues to lead the race for spots in the United States Ryder Cup team later this year.

Latest leading positions after the Valspar Championship: 1 Jordan Spieth 6,837.080pts; 2 Bubba Watson 3,483.078; 3 Dustin Johnson 3,230.782; 4 Rickie Fowler 2,856.357; 5 Brandt Snedeker 2,820.162; 6 Phil Mickelson 2,759.637; 7 Zach Johnson 2,693.302; 8

Patrick Reed 1,866.221; 9 Bill Haas 1,796.745; 10 Brooks Koepka 1,692.007; 11 Jason

Dufner 1,677.483; 12 Kevin Kisner 1,590.964.

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Reigning MENA Golf Tour amateur champion James Allan has decided to turn professional and will make his debut at the season-opening Royal Golf Mohammedia Open by HLO in Morocco next week.

The 21-year-old from Chelmsford flashed a glimpse of his precocious talent at the 2016 Omega Dubai Desert Classic, finishing in a tie for 45th on five-under.

“I was waiting for the right time, a time when you feel you are ready to take the next step in your career,” said Allan.

“Playing among the game’s elite at the Classic gave me the confidence that I can compete at the highest level and that’s where I want to be.”

He added: “You can’t put a price on what you learn from these world-class events; it’s an opportunity money can’t buy. I feel like my game is good enough to be out there. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of opportunities.”