A tournament like no other, but Stephen Gallacher is determined to try to treat the US Masters as a regular week on the European Tour.
Gallacher laughed when coach Dave Stockton tried to put the first major of the year into perspective.
The Scot is one of two dozen rookies who will tee up later today at Augusta National. Not since the second Masters in 1935 has there been so many first-timers with Gallacher, at 38 years of age, the second oldest in the field behind the 51-year Iowa insurance executive Micheal McCoy who captured last year’s Mid-Amateur champion-ship to earn his place.
There will be butterflies, but he said: “My coach, Dave Stockton said to just treat it like it was the Georgia Open. I said, yeah, right Dave, but I can see where he’s coming from and that’s why I haven’t over-prepared and tried to stay fresh as it’s going to be a tough week mentally and physically.
“So it’s all a matter of executing. I know I am going to be nervous and also excited and if you lose that you’re in the wrong game, but I think once I do tee off I can treat it like a normal tournament.”
Gallacher wound-up his preparations mid-morning yesterday playing Augusta’s front nine before taking part in the par-3 competition last night.
The serious work starts at 4.47pm today when Gallacher will complete his goal of having contested all four major championships since making his debut in the 1995 Open champion- ship at St Andrews as the then Scottish amateur stroke play and Lytham Trophy champion.
“It was nice this morning to get out early and play nine holes,” he said.
“I’ve now played four sets of nine and earlier in the week with past champions Jose Maria Olazabal and Ian Woosnam, so you can’t have much better preparations than that.
“I played last weekend with Sandy Lyle and he also gave me great insight, and it was similar advice from all three former winners – play your own game.”
Gallacher believes travelling to Australia last year to represent Scotland in the World Cup of Golf at Melbourne was a benefit.
The Royal Melbourne course was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie who also designed August National.
“MacKenzie was a brilliant designer and I saw that when I was down in Melbourne last year, and playing Royal Melbourne was a great bonus, as it seems all the trickier courses had his name on them,” he said.
“Coming out on to the course on the weekend I could not believe how steep it is.”