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July 8, 2015

Stephen Gallacher


Q. I was your shadow last year and hardly seen you this year. That's the way of the world nowadays.
STEPHEN GALLACHER: You've obviously not been out and about. I've been here. It's just I've been playing a bit abroad and taking a bit of time off. Nice to be back here in Scotland for two weeks.

Q. Very different vibe from 12 months ago when of course the big thing was Gleneagles, and you told us it's one tournament, but it is a big difference, 12 months?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: It is. It was intense. The thing is, I knew what I needed to do, and I was running out of time. So yeah, had a good Scottish Open last year and a decent open, as well, which set up the chance for me to qualify. But it was definitely more pressure. Every week was sort of I had to kind of perform, where now you can enjoy it and take it a bit more easy.

Q. Just because you talked about such a burden -- coming into this year's Scottish Open, you can almost play for what it is.
STEPHEN GALLACHER: You do take it as a week, you can't think about it once it goes. I think as a Scot, you want to win this tournament. This is up there high on the list. So regardless of what's gone on outside, you still want to win this tournament and prepare to win. Even with the expectations of The Ryder Cup, as well, you still try to do as well as you can.

Q. It's interesting, because I've been asking players all week what The Scottish Open means to them. It's almost a silly question to ask a Scot. It's the fifth major.
STEPHEN GALLACHER: You want to win your national tournament in front of your home fans and family, it's as simple as that. It's courses that you grew up playing and places you go back to that get the emotions going. I think just any time you are playing in your home country, you want to do as well as you can.

Q. And how is Gullane finding you this week? Are you on the cusp of sparking a bit of form?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I'll tell you Sunday. I hope so. It's a course I've played a lot. I have playing rights here. Play a lot in the winter and it's in unbelievable condition. It's as good of condition course you'll play all year and hopefully it does spark it back in. It's a course that I know very well, very familiar with it. So hopefully I can bring back some good memories playing here and contend on Sunday.

Q. Are there any courses in Scotland that you don't have rights to?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, hundreds of them. Hundreds of them.

Q. You must get that put right.
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I generally don't play when I'm off. No, I play a lot here in the winter. It's a great winter course, especially down the East Coast. It's only 40 minutes from my house.

Q. We see a lot of the American press coming over this week and big sometimes on their faces, really enjoying the golf in Scotland. What is it that's different about golf in Scotland and why do so many people like coming over here to play?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I think first of all you have the history of it. The Home of Golf is a big draw. You're playing courses that have been down for hundreds of years, and I think it's just, you know, you've got a bit of romance with St. Andrews and all the Open venues where I think a lot of foreigners have seen. Plus it's great to come to courses like Gullane and Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen, take it to all the points in the country. We've got all different varying types, inland, links courses, parkland, heathland, so I think it's just a place -- a small country to come and you can play any type of golf.

Q. Is there any specific advice you would give them? They are always kind of trophy hunting and after the big courses. Any advice you would give to visitors coming to play golf?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, I would tell them if they have got the time to go up the West Coast right along the top coast and back down the East Coast, and then go right along the middle again in a big square. You've got courses all up by the coast. You've got all different kinds. You've got the Western Isles up there; you've got all the Moray Firth ones and you've got the ones in Aberdeen all the way down, all the way down the coast to Carnoustie and you've got all the ones on the main land. As I say we are so blessed and so lucky we have got all diversities of golf. You've got everything you want.

Q. How much are you looking forward to playing The Scottish Open here?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, I must admit I'm looking very much forward to it. It's a course I've got playing rights on. I've played quite a lot. I'm very familiar with the course and it's in the best condition I've seen it forages. It's going to be a great week.

Q. Tell us how familiar; how much have you played it down the years?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I've played it a lot in the winter. It's a great winter course, nice and dry. Don't get a lot of time to play golf as you can imagine, play 30 weeks a year. I've probably played it six, eight times this year.

Q. Will you stay at home this week and sleep in your own bed?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, staying at home this week. I might stay down tomorrow when I'm off early, but apart from that I'm staying home. That doesn't happen very often. That's a luxury. I'm only 40 minutes away so it's nice.

Q. Give us a sense of the challenge this course represents.
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Well, it's a very straightforward course for a links course. There's only three blind shots, three or four blind tee shots, very small greens, well protected with bunkers. But as all links courses are, it's element-dependent. I've seen it here where it can be one of the toughest tests possible, especially when you get up on the top of the hill at the flat, it can be very exposed. If it's a bit soft like it is just now and we don't get much wind, well, you're going to see birdies, which is not a bad thing I don't think.

Q. How do you feel about your own game?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I've been struggling a little bit. I'm hoping back on home soil I can maybe get the spark going and start the season off from there.

Q. How special would it be for you to contend or win a Scottish Open here so close to your home?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I think you ask any guy playing in their National Open, they want to do well. You know the expectations are here. It's just how you manage it. I think there's nothing better than winning in your hometown, especially a course that I've got rights to play, in front of your family and friends. It's huge for us Scotts this week.

Q. How familiar are you with Gullane?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Of course I've played probably about a hundred times. I've got playing rights here and I play a lot in the winter. So it's definitely a home venue.

Q. And recently? What was that like?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, I played it two or three weeks ago. To be honest the course has been ready to play from the winter. It's been in unbelievable condition. The definition has came and it's a bit greener than it normally is which is a great thing, looks great on TV, a little bit softer. But who knows what the elements will bring for us the next four days. It's a fair course. There's not many blind shots. Small greens well guarded by bunkers but as any links course, as anybody knows links courses knows, it's definitely down to the weather. I've seen it here and it can blow really hard once you've got the top and as you can see it's a bit cloudy and rainy. But you know, it is what it is, links. If it's going to be flat calm, then there will be tucked pins away and you'll see some birdies which I don't think is a bad thing anyway.

Q. Worst score here?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I can't really remember. I've played it in different weathers and scored okay and then it's a struggle to get around some weeks. I'm just looking forward to it. I'm not going to set any scores or anything like that. I'm just going to try to have as many birdies as I can.

Q. For you this is an important week and it's not just a preparation for next week. It's your National Open?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I'm not even thinking about next week. This is as important as next week really for us guys. Whenever you play in your home kind of track, in front of your family and friends, you want to win it or you want to be competing in it.

Q. Has your attitude and approach to the Scottish Open changed down the years?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Not really. I think you try and prepare to be in contention on the Sunday. That's all you can do. I've had some good finishes and just not really been able to finish it off in the end. But hopefully one time it comes.

Q. You've been so St. Andrews earlier this week, how is that shaping up?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yes, St. Andrews is St. Andrews. Just even walking the course brings a sensation. You feel you're on the Home of Golf. Played another day with just me and Justin Rose around the course and it was like surreal. It's like we were tourists walking around and soaking it in. It's in great condition. We've had a wet kind of summer, so it's greener than normal. It's in unbelievable condition. It's going to be a brilliant two weeks for Scottish golf.

Q. The final thing has to be your condition. How are you?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, I'm okay. Been struggling a wee bit but I'm working hard and trying to do the right things right and hopefully I've been here before, and only needs one good round that can spark off a bit of form. So hopefully that will happen.
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