APPROPRIATELY perhaps with so many stunning beaches on this stretch of coast, Stephen Gallacher has drawn a line in the sand heading into his national championship.
It follows a spluttering first half to the season for the 40-year-old Scot, who has adopted a back-to-basics approach after missing the cut in last week’s French Open.
“That was a big turning point as I didn’t play well at all,” said Gallacher, who has slipped nearly 30 spots to 64th in the world rankings since the start of the year. “Sometimes you need a bit of adversity before you can take stock and say ‘I’m going to draw a line in the sand and get back to doing the fundamentals right’.”
He’s already feeling “positive” again and is aiming to use the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on a course he knows as well as anyone in the field as a springboard to climb back up those rankings in time for the Ryder Cup qualifying race starting later in the season.
“The great thing with golf is you go through peaks and troughs,” noted Gallacher, who closed with a 63 at Royal Aberdeen last year to finish joint-fourth behind Justin Rose.
“I’ve been getting in my way a bit and try too hard. So I’ve gone back to basics – getting my posture, set up, grip, stance and aim right – and I’ve started to hit it a lot better. You think you are miles away and you have one good round and you think you’re King Kong again.
“I’m hoping that two courses I’m very familiar with (this week’s venue and St Andrews, where he won the Dunhill Links in 2004) can spur me on a little bit as that would be nice for when the Ryder Cup points start.”
A nice change for the three-times European Tour winner this week is the chance to stay at home in Linlithgow. “When you spend 28 weeks away during the year, it’s great to sleep in your own bed,” he said, smiling. “Staying at home helps you relax. I’ll be on the couch watching the telly and chilling out with my dog, Smudge, and stuff like that and enjoying some home cooking. There’s nothing like it.”
Seventeen Scots are in the line-up in East Lothian, where the honour of hitting the first shot has been handed to David Drysdale, who lives around 30 minutes away in Cockburnspath. While confident he’ll be able to tee it up, Paul Lawrie has picked up an untimely groin injury. “When you get to my age, you wake up every day and there’s something else wrong with you,” said the 46-year-old.