Ryder Cup heroes: No.5 - Bernard Gallacher

Golf News

The Scot reflects on amassing four points from five in another defeat on American soil in 1979

The Cup back then
THERE were no assistant captains. When Tony Jacklin asked me to help him I was never in the team rooms or involved in the thinking behind partnerships.

In 1987 the bags turned up wrong so I helped sort that out and drove him round the course. I was a gopher more than a vice captain.

It was always a big thing to make the team and it was the same for the Americans.

Back then the prize money wasn’t big enough in any one event to get you on the team so you had to play well throughout the season and I always saw it as a nine-month project.

Our captains needed a wild card as a lot were playing in America. The reason the Americans started having wild cards because they thought it was working so well for us but it was for completely different reasons.

The Spaniards
THIS was the story of 1979, and we couldn’t see it at the time, but it was the turning point in the history of the competition.

Up until then we were being beaten quite badly and Jack Nicklaus helped to persuade Lord Derby to bring in the Europeans.

Seve and Antonio Garrido might not have added too many points but their inclusion was the defining moment in the Ryder Cup.

There was never a push to bring in the Rest of the World, it was just that the British tour had evolved into the European Tour and it was common sense.

Seve and Antonio played together in the first match out against Lanny Wadkins and Larry Nelson.

Seve was pretty close to being the best player in the world but he soon found out that this was a pretty competitive arena.

The thing about Brian is that he doesn’t suit everybody because of his laid-back approach to things but I knew underneath it all he was very determined. The pairings
BRIAN Barnes and I complemented each other quite well, he had a good long game and I had a good short game.

The thing about Brian is that he doesn’t suit everybody because of his laid-back approach to things but I knew underneath it all he was very determined.

Tommy Horton was very friendly with Brian but never enjoyed playing with Brian.

They were the best of friends but as a partnership it didn’t work. I found it quite relaxing and he was a great holer out so we were fine.

There were some natural pairings with Brian and I, Faldo and Oosterhuis, who played a similar type of game, and the Spaniards.

That’s not to say that you should flog those pairings as you need to get other players on the course ahead of the singles.

The final day
WE were a lot better than some people thought and only a point behind going into the singles. When you looked at our singles line-up we felt like we were a match for them.

I remember being put under pressure by John as he told me the night before that he was putting me out first. Lanny wasn’t the player you wanted to face but I was anxious to do my job.

I was two up on the 15th when John came out. He said ‘I really, really need you to win this match’ to which I replied ‘Well I’m really, really trying John’ and it was quite funny.

I managed to win but we ended up going down 17-11.

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