ANOTHER week, another chance to pick the brains of a former Masters champion. For his Masters debut, Stephen Gallacher used Sandy Lyle and Jose Maria Olazabal to get to know Augusta National. Yesterday, at Bothwell Castle in Lanarkshire, he took the chance to grill Ian Woosnam on scheduling.
It followed the 39-year-old believing he’d made a mistake by staying on in America the week after the season’s first major last month. His second-round 81 in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head was due to an empty tank. That won’t happen again as Gallacher bids to play in a Ryder Cup on home soil late this year.
“Today has been a good opportunity to speak to Ian about the scheduling because I’m finding it tough to get going the week after these big events,” admitted Gallacher. “It’s like a come down and it takes a lot out of you. That’s a big lesson I learned from Augusta because I was knackered after it and in hindsight I shouldn’t have gone on to play at Hilton Head.
“It was tipping with rain, the wind was howling and I had a chest infection, too, so I should just have come home. But this is all new to me and that is a big lesson I have learned.”
Already this year, Gallacher’s schedule has taken him to Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and America. He’s heading back across the Atlantic next week to make his debut in the Tournament Players’ Championship, the so-called fifth major, at Sawgrass.
“I’ve found that I need a break so I’m going to take a week off every now and then just to get ready for the big ones,” added the double Dubai Desert Classic winner.
“I’ll have a week after the US Open just to get over the travelling and the jet-lag. I’ll have another one the week after The Open before I go to America for two weeks. It’s important to get out to the States early so, by the time you tee-off, the jet-lag is gone and you feel good. After that, if I do need to chase it, I will go to the tournaments in the Czech Republic and Denmark.”
Woosnam, who joined Gallacher and Ladies European Tour player Pamela Pretswell, to mark the opening of Bothwell Castle’s re-modelled holes, believes Scotland’s top-ranked player is doing the “right things”.
“Are you the sort of person who needs rest or are you like me who played every week and tended to play better when I did?” added the Welshman. “In those days, you had to in order to make a living but the demands and schedules have changed now.”
This week’s European Tour schedule has taken eight Scots to Singapore, with Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren, Scott Jamieson, Craig Lee, David Drysdale, Peter Whiteford, Chris Doak and Jamie McLeary all in the field for The Championship today.