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Stephen Gallacher: Golf NEEDS a fit and firing Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau is set for a spell on the sidelines.
Bryson DeChambeau is set for a spell on the sidelines.

Bryson DeChambeau may have let his heart rule his head in playing through the pain at Augusta two weeks ago.

I touched on this ahead of time when discussing Tiger Woods and DeChambeau’s participation in the Masters.

While all the focus was on Tiger’s return, DeChambeau’s admission he was only 80% fit did set an alarm bell ringing.

Augusta is a tough challenge mentally, but physically it is a demanding one, too.

I can empathise completely with the idea of doing all you can to play there as it is a special unique place, but – after missing the cut at Augusta – DeChambeau has undergone wrist surgery and is set to miss the next two months.

It has been a tough start to the year for DeChambeau with his injury problems starting after he slipped on a marble floor injuring his hip and wrist while playing table tennis.

Perhaps the surgery was scheduled all along and DeChambeau wanted to give it one last shot before going under the knife, but I was not surprised to see him miss the cut.

The Masters is not a tournament where you can turn up cold or less than 100% and compete – you just can’t do it.

You need to be on the top of your game and, due to the struggles he has been having following his fall in February, it was clear the big man was not anywhere near it.

The same applies to Tiger. He started brilliantly – but you could see by the weekend he was physically exhausted.

Tiger may be the box office star but Bryson is a terrific understudy

I hope we see the real DeChambeau back in business when he returns. He, more than anyone, has taken on the mantle of being the must-see attraction in Tiger’s absence.

We’ve all watched with interest wondering how his latest tweak is going to pan out, whether is transforming his body physically or aiming to boom another 400-yard drive down the fairway.

Tiger will always be the box office attraction and leading man given his incredible achievements in the game.

But, as a television viewer, DeChambeau is an excellent understudy in terms of the unpredictable entertainment value he offers.

Speaking of Tiger, he could not have been more glowing about the Open and St Andrews this summer had he been wearing a Scottish Tourist Board hat.

In confirming he will be at the 150th Open, he said: “It’s the Home of Golf and it’s my favourite golf course in the world.”

Trust me, it won’t be long before his face and that quote appears on a poster somewhere in the near future.

Crawford’s win shows Scottish women’s golf is in a good place

Grace Crawford with the Helen Holm Trophy.

I felt like a proud parent after seeing Grace Crawford win the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open on Sunday.

Grace is only 15 and wasn’t even born when Heather Stirling, the last Scot to win the event, claimed the title in 2002.

Grace also has the honour of being the youngest winner since Leona Maguire in 2009.

Grace has played Stephen Gallacher Foundation events since the age of six and it was clear from a young age she was an awesome talent.

She would play in older age-grade events because she was so talented and the only thing she lacked was the physicality against her older opponents.

But as you can see the teenager now has that power to go with her obvious talent.

Grace is an ambassador for the foundation and she has taken her role seriously by mentoring some of the younger players.

We’ve got some great young girls coming through the foundation, which is great to see, and I believe women’s golf is in rude health right now.

The appointment of Kathryn Imrie as performance manager at Scottish Golf can only bolster that effort further.

Kathryn is a two-time Solheim Cup vice-captain and her years of experience will be a valuable asset for the young golfers coming through.

Ready for my Spanish test

The wait is finally over as I make my first appearance in a tournament for a month at the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain this week.

Tarragona has been a regular venue for the Q-School and it is not hard to see why. The set-up is brilliant here.

It’s a really tricky course with thick rough and will provide a strong test.

This week is the start of my bid to secure a place at St Andrews for the Open.

I’ve said all year the 150th edition at the Home of Golf this summer is the number one priority for every golfer and I’m no different.

The European Open in May, Irish Open in June and Scottish Open in July are three vital events on that path and I’ll be giving my all to ensure I have a place for the hottest ticket in town this summer.