Stephen Gallacher has described his hopes of playing in successive Ryder Cups as “slim” after slipping nearly 100 spots in the world rankings over the past 12 months.
On the back of eight top 10s, including a successful defence of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic title, the Bathgate man finished 2014 among the game’s elite lying 35th in the global standings.
I have a slim chance of the Ryder Cup, I’m realistic about that, but you only need to hit a bit of form. I climbed the rankings in 2014, so it is doableStephen Gallacher
In stark contrast, the 2015 campaign produced slim pickings for a “golfed out” Gallacher, the result being that the 41-year-old has dropped to world No 121 as the clock ticks towards the New Year.
Consequently, he will head into 2016 with a mountain to climb in his bid to retain a spot on the European team that will be aiming to make it three Ryder Cup wins in a row at Hazeltine next September.
“It was always going to be tough to follow up a year where you’d met all your goals, one of which was a lifetime ambition,” admitted Gallacher as he reflected on his season, the only real highlight of which was, in his bid for the hat-trick at The Emirates, finishing third behind an on-form Rory McIlroy.
“To then have your coach [Alan McCloskey] leave you in the middle of the season wasn’t easy and I had to re-evaluate. My stats were just about the same as they were when I had my good season, but I’ve not been putting as well. That’s why I was down seeing [putting guru] Phil Kenyon recently and, since I’ve also started working with Mike Walker and Pete Cowen over the last two months, I feel as though I’ve began to play a bit more consistent again.
“I have a slim chance of getting back in the Ryder Cup, I’m realistic about that, but you only need to hit a bit of form. I climbed the rankings in 2014, so it is doable. An early win in 2016 would get me back in the top 60 or I can get back up the rankings by being consistent, as I was was myself in 2014 and Matt Fitzpatrick was this year with a lot of top 10s.”
One of Gallacher’s many qualities is that he is as honest as the day is long and, on reflection, he wishes now that he could turn the clock back 12 months. “I was straight back into it at the end of last season when I probably should have taken a month off,” he added. “I golfed myself out and I think I just absolutely knackered myself. That’s why I was getting ill, injuring myself this season. I didn’t give my body a chance to recover.
“I’m 41 years old and still learning about management of time. This close season I’m ca’ing canny. I’m going to just work on short game and putting for three or four weeks and have a total rest. I won’t start until Abu Dhabi in the middle of January. It’s been tough, but I’m going to come back stronger.”