IAN Poulter has urged Stephen Gallacher to “keep his head up” after the Scot’s dream debut in the Ryder Cup turned into an anti-climax at Gleneagles.
On a day when both of them were badly out of sorts, Gallacher and Poulter suffered a comprehensive 5&4 defeat in the opening fourballs at the hands of rookies Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth. It was a massive disappointment for the home crowd after they’d turned up the volume to welcome the pair on the first tee – the only time, unfortunately, they were given anything to cheer.
“It was a special reception on the first tee, something that I will definitely remember for the rest of my life,” said Gallacher afterwards. “Just a pity about the result.”
The 39-year-old pushed his opening drive into a bunker then found marshland on the right of the green, picking up after taking a penalty drop from there and hitting his fourth through the green.
“I didn’t feel under any pressure at all, really,” insisted the Bathgate man. “I was a bit out of rhythm and it took me maybe five or six holes to get into it. Then when I did start to play well, I didn’t capitalise on it by holing the putts.”
Praising their young opponents, Gallacher added: “They dovetailed very well and when one was out, one was in. That’s tough to beat.”
Poulter, Europe’s talisman in recent Ryder Cups, failed to register a single birdie, having signed off with five in a row in his last fourball outing at Medinah two years ago. He said: “That wasn’t obviously what we were looking for,” admitted the Englishman. “We were hoping to get off to a fast start, but that didn’t happen and we couldn’t seem to get anything going.”
Confident he can bounce back from the “dent” to his record and play his part in another European victory, Poulter said he had offered words of encouragement to Gallacher.
“I said to Steve walking off the course that when I played with Darren Clarke in 2004, we had our butts kicked [losing 4&3 to Tiger Woods and Chris Riley] the first time I ever played,” he added. “We’ve obviously had that today, but things can change very quickly and we have to keep our heads up right now. It didn’t work for us today, but we have to look forward to the matches we’re going to play ahead.”