Paul McGinely announced that Stephen Gallacher is one of his three Captain’s picks for the 2014 European side of the Ryder Cup. The golf world was fixed on his performance at the Open d’Italia. Gallacher finished one putt shy of an automatic qualifying spot on Sunday, as David Howell’s 63 bumped the Scotsman down to solo 3rd place. With that finish in view, McGinley was faced with the unenviable task of slighting a homebred Euro Tour player, who would have a Ryder Cup debut in his home country, or saying “I’m sorry” to Ian Poulter or Lee Westwood or Luke Donald.
If you travel back over the past two decades, the names Poulter, Westwood and Donald have been stalwarts of the European team. That one of the them could not qualify outright put McGinely, as with all captains, in a tough spot. In the end, it was Donald who received the pink slip and Gallacher, who sat 14 strokes behind the leader on Friday afternoon, could breathe easier in the knowledge that he would wear the uniform of the European commonwealth.
As Captain McGinely announced, Gallacher came home in 30 strokes on cut day, with the chips not only down, but flying in his face. He then surged up the leader board over the weekend in 69-65 to prove to McGinley his worth to the team. Unlike the magical three, Gallacher plays his golf solely on the European Tour; no globe-trotting for the Scottish lad. Gallacher has become the blue-collar face of the European Tour and it would have been a massive slight to elect three golfers ahead of him.
Next up is Tom Watson’s announcement of the remaining three slots on the USA side. The matches will be held at the Gleneagles Hotel, on a curiously non-Scottish course, from September 23rd to the 28th. The official website is here. Photo of Paul McGinley courtesy of Getty Images.