‘Young amateurs turning pro too soon’

STEPHEN Gallacher has urged leading amateur golfers to win as much as they can and play at the highest level they can before thinking about switching to the professional ranks.

He handed out the advice after hearing that Charley Hull, the 15-year-old English player, had given up the chance to play in this summer’s Curtis Cup at Nairn to accept an invitation to line up in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the women’s season, in California later this month.

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“After I won the Scottish Amateur when I was 17 (at Glasgow Gailes in 1992), I thought ‘that’s it I’m going to turn pro now’,” revealed Gallacher, who had also won the Scottish Boys’ Stroke-Play (1991) prior to that and went on to win the Scottish Youths (1994) as well.

“However, my uncle Bernard (the three-time Ryder Cup captain) told me that I needed to win everything I could just to prepare me for pro golf and said there was no point making that move until I had played in the Walker Cup. It’s probably the best advice I was ever given (he played in the same Walker Cup as Tiger Woods in 1995 before turning pro that year).

“These days players seem to be turning pro younger all the time and another difference is that, unlike my day, there are no proper amateurs – half the team used to have jobs.”