Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher would be relishing his first Ryder Cup appearance if it was being played on the M8 motorway.
The fact that it’s at Gleneagles, a course where he has such intimate knowledge only helps to make it more special.
Stephen will spend tonight at home in Linlithgow before making the hour’s drive up to Gleneagles tomorrow to begin the biggest week of his life.
He’ll have travelled full circle as this is also the venue where he played in his first professional event on the European Tour 21 years ago.
As he pulls up through the gates, good memories should come flooding back. Most recently last year he finished tied second, losing a play-off to Englishman Tommy Fleetwood for the Johnnie Walker Championship.
And he is banking on recalling those to help deal with the pressure that awaits once the Ryder Cup begins on Friday.
“I first played there as an amateur in 1993 at the Bell’s Scottish Open when I was only 18,” he says.
“I remember playing with Andre Bossert of Switzerland and Italian Alberto Binaghi, who’s now the coach of Matteo Manassero.
“That was on the Kings Course, but I can’t remember when I first played the PGA Centenary.
“But even before that, I used to go to watch the tournament when all the top guys played in it Seve Ballesteros, Payne Stewart, Nick Price.
“There used to be a great field for the Scottish Open in those days and obviously I remember going to watch my uncle Bernard playing in it, too.
“Playing the Ryder Cup on a course I know well can help me. I’ve hit a lot of good shots there and I’ve had seven top-ten finishes.
“When you’re standing on tees or walking in between shots, you can remember good shots you’ve hit before or putts you’ve holed. It can only help if you’re having positive thoughts.
“That is how you get round the nerves. You get your routines in place by recalling good shots or you know where you want to hit it.
“That’s all you can do hit it, find it and hit it again. It’s how you react that is so important.
“When you go up to the course now, you see the enormity of the tournament and the enormity of everything behind the scenes. You realise how big a deal it is.”
Gallacher went on a spying mission to Gleneagles two weeks ago, ahead of the frenzy that awaits this week. He had great weather then and would love for something similar this week.
“I was up there twice in short sleeves and they were actually hand watering the rough,” he reveals.
“This is Scotland and it’s nearly winter. The balls could be plugging by Friday! But the sub-air system is massive, the greens are always going to be great and the fairways are perfect. Let’s just hope the weather is kind.”
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