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October 5, 2016

Stephen Gallacher

Carnoustie-Kingsbarns, Scotland

PAUL SYMES: Welcome to the Dunhill Links Championship. Many thanks for joining us. Always a great week, the sun is shining and you're at the Old Course.

STEPHEN GALLACHER: Three of the best courses in Britain if not the world and one you want to play desperately. You don't get tired, you're taking pictures on the Swilken Bridge, on the first tee. Not many weeks on the golfing calendar that you do that. I think it's just a pleasure to play as a golfer and a golf fan anyway.

Carnoustie is in unbelievable condition and the best I've seen it, absolutely perfect.

PAUL SYMES: You've been battling a few injuries, set you back a bit, but are you feeling good now.

STEPHEN GALLACHER: The hard thing for me is I played these courses since I was 15 and I've played them all right-to-left and then I've got to see them left-to-right. It's a wee bit -- normally you can just turn up, you know where the bunkers are. But now trying to hit it the other way, you're trying to figure out different winds and the ball isn't running as far. It's just a bit of a jigsaw putting the equation together.

But I've not had any problems with my hand. That was the sort of objective was to end the year with being comfortable hitting it left-to-right and then start back for next year. But I'm starting to drive the ball really well, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Did you watch The Ryder Cup last week?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I did. I watched pretty much all of it.

Q. What did you think in general?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I thought they done great to come back from such a poor first day in the morning. After Gleneagles, we had two record-breaking foursomes games and I had really high hopes. But to come back from sort of 4-down was phenomenal. Even up to Westwood sort of on the Saturday night, a bit of a momentum swing for them, and even halfway through the singles I thought we were going to do it Medinah-style.

But I think Davis had the luxury of learning from his mistakes in Medinah and was able to putt stronger guys out in the tail, and that's kind of what it looked like. If Rory and Sergio's matches had flipped, I think we would have probably done it.

But the golf was phenomenal to watch on the Sunday, 70-odd birdies, five eagles, that's what you want to watch, isn't it. That's what makes people talk about it and write about it.

Q. You've been there two years before. Is that a difficult watch, sitting in front of the telly or did you find it an inspiring thing; that you want to get back there?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Well, I've watched it since 1970-odd every year anyway. It's one of the ones that I will watch it anyway. Yeah, you know all about it, so you know what the players are going through and how they are feeling and you definitely want to get back there, absolutely.

You sit there and you think, well, I'm trying to get my game in shape to give a run for it for 2018, definitely. You definitely want to play in that again if you've played in one. I'll be trying my hardest to give it a go once the qualification starts.

Q. Can you give us an example of what you're talking about, changing your game, the right-to-left, left-to-right -- 17 on the Old Course?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Now I can play that hole. It cost me five shots in The Open, it was always a left flag -- the benefit, like the sixth at Carnoustie, it's just a totally different -- I can't properly draw it the way I used to do it.

So I've had to go to the total opposite, instead of swinging slightly right I have to swing slightly left and it puts a left-to-right spin. But it's neutral in the TrakMan and I shouldn't hit the ball as far off line. I've not lost any length. It's just being able to picture it or see it if you know what I mean.

But the more I keep hitting it that way, the more you just automatically go in and say, right, what's the shot here. I can still hit it right-to-left but the more I hit it left-to-right, I don't get any pain or nothing. So I've had to do it.

Q. Do you know the two young guys making their European Tour debut, Grant and Ewen? Can you go back to when you first came out on the Tour and how different is it now to then?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: The tournaments are a lot bigger, and the strength and depth is massive I think. Back when I played, you could almost pick the five or six guys that were going to win five or six times a year.

Now it's changed a little bit. I'd say that the course conditions are getting better. The young guys coming out are more professional than what we were. They are more suited to turning pro. Getting a chance to play on The Challenge Tour is massive for the kids coming on and getting ready to go. I think they are much more equipped to turn pro.

I'm sure the boys will enjoy it today and this week and all they need to do is just not change too much and just get experience. The more they can play in events, the more they get used to it, and I'm sure that their games are great enough anyway, but I'm sure next year, whatever they do at school or if it's the Challenge Tour next year, they will come back and this will be beneficial to them.

Q. As someone who has played in The Ryder Cup, were you comfortable with some of the stuff that was going on behind the ropes when you were watching on the weekend?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I was just saying, I can't recall anything at Gleneagles like that. There was no -- you didn't hear anybody talk about it. Never heard any of the players talking about it. And I think the hard thing is, you're always going to get people cheering if you hit a bad shot, if you hit it in the water.

I think it's when it gets personal, there's no room for that in golf. But you need a bit of the oohing and aahhing. That's part of it. That's why it's so unique. If you miss a putt, that "boo" cheer -- I've heard that at Gleneagles and I've heard that at every Ryder Cup I've watched. It's just the sort of personal abuse stuff -- the Americans are doing it, the marshals are doing it and when they caught anybody doing it, they are going to eject people --

Q. Is there more that should be done about it?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Rory said a good thing, at half-seven on the tee, they are all drinking on the tee. Maybe lunch time before you can get a drink, something like that, maybe. I don't know. I'm sure there will be a massive -- you don't want to tarnish your brand of The Ryder Cup and there's not a place for it. I'm sure there will be a lot of people having a conversation about how they sort this.

Q. How would you have reacted to some of the stuff that was said?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: You don't really hear it anyway. When there's 45,000 people, you don't really hear it. There's only a couple of times I can recall -- when it's quiet and you're over the ball, you hear it. There's a couple of times like that, that's rubbish, you don't want that.

But it's mainly walking in between the tees when you get close to the fans that they can get personal and close to you. That was when Rory got a bit of abuse and the boys got a bit of abuse. But generally walking down the fairway, you don't hear anything.

Q. But can it put you off?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I don't think so. I think it didn't really put Rory off, did it. And I don't think even the way Patrick Reed or any of these guys were sort of trying to get the fans up, I don't think that had anything to do with it either.

We've had Poulter do it. We've had a lot of guys on our side who get like that. You look at Thomas Pieters, they were just sort of, thanks very much. It's just down to how the individual, how your makeup is. It's the most animated I've never seen Rory, anyway, I'll tell that you.

Q. Would that be your worry that in terms of fan behavior, it will take something away from the tournament as a whole?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I don't think it will take away anything from the tournament. I think it will enhance it because you don't want any negative press -- the worst thing is people talking about non-golf related stories. All you want to be talking about is how good a game Mickelson and Garcia was, the Patrick Reed game. That's what you want to be talking about, or how did the pairings go, rather than crowd abuse for Danny Willett's brother or any outside agency. I'm sure 2018, they should have learned from what's happened here.

Q. Going back to changing your game again. How hard is that to get your head around? Anybody been able to help you?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: I think Alex Noren has probably won one I spoke to. I was out playing with Simon Khan today and his coach is the same and I'm explaining to him -- he had to do pretty much the same thing. He was injured for a couple years and he's had to come back and hit it with a big left-to-right shot as well just to take away the stress from the hand (indicating).

As Alan, my coach said, I said, if I'm going to do that, I'm going to have to fade it. It's just a process of changing a ten-degree in-and-out to ten-degree out-to-in. It's been quite a big shift but it's one of these ones that it's the most technical I've ever had. It's the most -- it's the best I've ever swung it. It's just a case of sort of seeing it now quickly enough. Because you don't want to be picked -- when you're playing well, you're never thinking about that.

You just stand there and you see it almost straightaway. It's just getting -- it's just getting your head around the different shots, and a few holes I might be able to play differently than I've done before but there's a few holes that I can play aggressive that I never would have played it before. It's a bit weird but you've just got to go with it.

Q. Do you remember the first time you played with Thomas Pieters, and like many others, did you see something special then?
STEPHEN GALLACHER: Yeah, I played with him a couple of times. I played with him in Abu Dhabi actually. He's very long, very, very long. But he's got such a good touch with his sort of short irons, as you've seen in Denmark, when he closed out those last three holes in Denmark, he's chipped a little sand wedge stiff, and he's chipped another one stiff and he's played a wee 9-iron at the last.

He's got the length and accuracy off the tee but he's also really, really good with the short irons, which some of these longer hitters can struggle for a bit. I thought he would play four to five, just because nothing really gets to him. You see how cool he was. And you're playing with Rory, as well. But as I said to people, I think if you ask the 11 guys, who would you want to play with, they would all say Rory, you know what I mean.

I think he potentially could be, if he keeps maturing and keeps learning and playing the way he's doing, sky's the limit. Great for us.

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