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July 8, 2015

Stephen Gallacher


PAUL SYMES: Many thanks for joining us. Stature of this tournament seems to grow year on year. Must make you proud to see how it's evolved even in the time you've played it.

STEPHEN GALLACHER: A big sort of, you've got to take your hat off to the Scottish government and Aberdeen Asset Management and the Tour for sort of picking it up and bringing it, investing money in it, showing that they have got confidence in it for the future; and also to take it around the country I think is a brilliant idea to showcase worldwide talent to places that maybe don't get the chance, an opportunity to see it.

PAUL SYMES: You know this course better than anyone else in the field. Hopefully that gives you a bit of an edge?

STEPHEN GALLACHER: I hope I don't find any of the balls I lost in the winter. Yeah, I'm very familiar with Gullane. I've got playing rights on it and I've played quite a lot in the winter. To be honest the course has been ready to play since the winter. There's only been a couple of superficial changes and sort of a little bit greener than normal. It's been in great nick all year, and I know all the people that have played it just now are really looking forward to having a great week.

Q. Can you explain the effect of the rain -- the bump-and-runs, does that change dramatically?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: We've had a really wet summer, so every course is greener than normal. Although it's green, it's not going to be soft -- it just takes the bite out of it. That's what links is. All you've got to do with links, you can only deal with what you've got that week, whether it be brick hard and dusty or a little bit softer. You just adapt to different clubs in the bag. You may not need the 2-iron; may put the rescue in. The great thing with Gullane is it's pretty straightforward. There's not many too blind shots. There are well-guarded greens but scoring is going to be down to what we get dealt with Mother Nature. If it's a bit soft and a bit calm, you maybe tuck the pins away or you're going to see quite a bit of birdies which I think is a great thing.

Q. Is it a case that there's more pressure being one of the home expectations, or, the fact that you're at home and you can relax in familiar surroundings? Does that make it more laid back?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I think when you play in front of your home fans, there is a bit of expectation. But you've got to use that to your own -- you've got to use that energy to try and spur you on. I look forward to it. When you're playing in front of your home fans, you know your friends and people are rooting for you. It can sometimes help you, pick you up. But I'm staying at home, so the relaxed state is definitely right. I'll be on the couch watching the telly and chilling out with my dog and stuff like that, which you don't normally get. Only staying 40 minutes away. So it's definitely nice to get some home cooking and that.

Q. I suppose, too, an advantage knowing the course as well as you do?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I know the course really well. I kind of know where I'm wanting to hit it. It's just whether you do hit it there is the secret. But I'm definitely familiar with the track. I've played it quite a lot over the last sort of three, four months. I've played quite a lot with the guys that I grew up playing with golf in Scotland, teams, friends of mine, a couple of them are members, so we play quite regular if I'm off.

Q. Given you're playing the next two weeks on home soil and the significance of that, are you targeting this as a turning point in your year?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I am actually. Because the great thing with golf is you go through peaks and troughs. You can't maintain a level all the time. It's something small. So I've sort of been getting in my own way a wee bit and trying a bit too hard to force good tournaments, where I've just been back to basics, just went right back to getting your posture, setup, grip, stance, aim right. Just for doing that, I've started to hit the ball a lot better. I'm hoping -- you know, this game's great. You think you're miles way 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 can sort of spur on a little bit and kickoff, which would be nice when the Ryder Cup points start.

Q. Are you feeling good about your game?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, I'm feeling more positive than I have been the last couple months. France was a big turning point. I didn't play well at all. Sometimes you need a bit of adversity before you can sort of take stock and say, well, you know what, I'm going to draw a line in the sand and just get back to doing what I do best and just focus on one shot at a time and do the fundamentals right. The more things you do right, the better chance you've got of peak performance. So that's what I'm hoping for.

Q. Phil Mickelson was in just a couple minutes ago talking about how difficult it is playing different courses for The Scottish Open all the time. Loch Lomond, he was getting used the course. You were just saying it showcases that, bouncing it around the country. How tough is it playing The Scottish Open on different courses and not having a set course?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Well, it's tougher for him obviously living in America. Doesn't matter what course we go to. We play it quite a bit. Maybe if Phil says it, it may be a fixed venue now in the next three or four years (laughter). He maybe knows something. But what do you do? I think it's nice to take it up to Inverness and Aberdeen where they are a bit away from this sort of main land down here. Loch Lomond was great, as well. And everybody wanted links courses so we changed from parkland. It's hard to appease everyone. I thought Loch Lomond was an unbelievable venue, great place. But the fields have been better once we went to links courses, and once Phil done the double, that sort of opened the floodgates for people thinking they can prepare for The Open, playing The Scottish Open the week before, which has been great for Scotland, great for tourism and that's why the stature of the tournament has grown. But, everybody's got a different opinion. Play it anywhere in Scotland, it's still The Scottish Open I think.

Q. You spoke about how good it was to be at home. What's the best thing about being here, and also, what's the worst -- hassle for tickets?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Well, it's quite lucky I've got a few pals that don't need their tickets this week because I've been inundated. But that's a good hassle. Get that out of the way early, the ticket situation. But just to sleep in your own bed. You spend 28 weeks away not in your own bed. There's nothing like it. Even if it's a five hours, six hours in, it's equivalent to -- you don't sleep very much when you're away and you're up early and different rooms and whatnot. I think you can get into your routine more. You can be relaxed more and in a better state of mind.

Q. The wee honour's board in the clubhouse across the road, your Uncle Bernard won at Muirfield in '67; how nice would it be for you to be the next on that honour's board?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, that's why I'm here. I'm here to try to win it. You try and prepare enough that I've played the course in different winds, which is a good thing, because that can happen in links. You can play one day straight down, the next day straight into or across. I think that's when the familiarity can be a bit of a benefit because you're open to -- different holes play differently with different winds. And that's just down to preparation. All you can do is prepare. We all know where we want to hit it. All you want to do is be in contention on a Sunday and hope the crowd and all that, you can get a bit of luck and pull through.

Q. Mickelson's only practise round is going to be the Pro-Am. Is it going to be difficult for him to win around here with the variation?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: No, because I think it's straightforward, Gullane. As I said, there's only three or four blind shots. It's right in front of you. It's a very, very straightforward golf course. It's got its tough points. It's also got risk and reward holes and I think that's why it's going to be loved by the players.

Q. You said after the French Open that you drew a line in the sand after that in terms of approach. Were you getting too technical or was it more mental than technical?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: No, it was more technical. Just try and improve and you're always trying to improve but I think you've got to maintain a level of consistency with your sort of fundamentals of the game. If you don't get them right, it doesn't really matter what you're trying to do, the other part. I think it's just if you go off form a little bit, you try and force it. You try too hard, and I think you just get in your own way, try different things mentally, as well and maybe change your routine and whatever. But just get back to doing what you do well and what you were doing when you were playing well, successful. I'm trying to get back to that. But it's just sometimes you need to play bad and go through a little bit of a dip to come back over to the other side. I've been there before and I've seen guys do it. There's a case for everyone throughout the year having periods like this. But just not panic and try to get a bit of clarity in my thoughts now and get back to trying to play the golf course and have a go at having -- I want to have the most birdies this week. That's my goal this week.

Q. I know when you're in town and here in Scotland, you get to play Gullane and Gleneagles and other places. Besides the Dunhill, do you get a chance to play the Old Course very much?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I played it yesterday. But I think that's -- I generally only play it the weeks of The Open and the Dunhill. I don't think I've ever played it on a bounce game, which it's hard to get on. You need to go on a ballot. I don't want to drive up and not get on. I played it yesterday. It's in great champion Nick. Again, it's a little bit green, a little greener than they probably want. They will probably tuck the pins. Wait and see what the weather is going to be like. The great thing with links is you have got variability. If it blows hard, you can make the pins easier. If it's calm, you can tuck them away.

Q. Do you think that's an advantage since you do play the Dunhill every year?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, I think familiarity, again, is a great thing. The guys playing the majors only get to play it every five years. We play in it every year, and twice one year. It changes from the Dunhill to the Open right enough. It's a totally different animal. There's a bit of rough. They put pins where you didn't even know there was a bit of green, and that's the beauty of the Old Course. It's so flexible in what they do.

Q. You've done a lot of traveling back across the Atlantic first half of the year. Do you think getting used to that, has that had any effect on your inconsistency?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: It's a nightmare. Takes me ages to get back, especially Chambers Bay, I was probably three weeks to get back. Really struggled, trying everything, like with sleeping tablets and trying to get -- I've spoke to so many people and different sports, and they all come up with the conclusion that there's no fixed sort of -- there's nothing that helps it. You can try compression gear. You can try different habits. You can try eating at the different times, sleeping. But basically it's just keep hydrated and sleep as much as you can. It is tough. It is tough to play it that way. It's very tough to go from there and back here and back over. That's the thing that I'm finding it the most is just the travel aspect. It sort of tires you out a little bit and you can lose a bit of focus and concentration within that. That's what I've been doing within the last three weeks is try to recuperate as much as I can and take it easy and try to eat and sleep and drink properly.

Q. So when Ryder Cup qualifying starts --

Q. More in Europe?
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