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Stephen Gallacher: My honour at taking on Junior Ryder Cup role

It feels nice to pull on a Ryder Cup shirt again. Image: Bounce Sport
It feels nice to pull on a Ryder Cup shirt again. Image: Bounce Sport

It’s a huge honour to be asked to captain of the European team for next year’s Junior Ryder Cup match.

Accepting the offer to take on the role was one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make and I’m really excited to see the stars of the future go head-to-head next year in Italy.

There’s a concerted effort to raise the profile of this match and there is no better way of doing that than by including the match as part of the build-up for the Ryder Cup in September.

The first two days will be played at Golf Nazionale in Rome, which is a terrific course before the final day of singles moves to the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.

For spectators at Marco Simone next year not only will they have the glitz and glamour of the opening ceremony and the final practice session before the Friday four-balls to enjoy but they will also have the chance to watch the drama of the Junior Ryder Cup singles play out.

I’m excited so I can only imagine how these teenagers will be feeling at the prospect of playing at the venue for the Ryder Cup on the eve of the big match no less.

The atmosphere will be incredible and for the young amateurs taking part they will find out so much about themselves.

The pressure will be intense and I can guarantee nobody in either side will have played in an atmosphere like it. Some might struggle while others will thrive.

Whatever happens, I’m sure it will be a day of drama and an occasion these kids will remember forever.

We might just see some stars of the future too in next year’s match if the history of the event is anything to go by.

Young players have big shoes to fill

Suzann Pettersen has previously played in the Junior Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Suzann Pettersen, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson, Justin Thomas and Hunter Mahan are just some of the former Junior Ryder Cup players who have gone on to have terrific professional careers.

With six captains picks consisting of three boys and three girls to be made I’ll have much to ponder in the months ahead when it comes to choosing the team for the match and I’d love to see a Scot make the team.

Scott Knowles, who runs my foundation and has done work with the R&A, will hear from me a lot as I’ll be keeping tabs on the progress the hopefuls are making and when my schedule allows I’ll be going along to a few amateur events to see how they are getting on.

The Americans are in a strong position having won the last six matches but the 2018 match was a really tight affair with the United States edging Europe 12.5-11.5.

The 2020 match was due to take place in Wisconsin but was postponed then cancelled due to the pandemic so Europe will serve as hosts again.

Here’s hoping we can turn our fortunes around and bring the trophy back home.

Sorry Monty, Tiger’s not going anywhere

Colin Montgomerie.

Another week, another golfer with plenty to say about a fellow pro.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have not been shy in sharing their opinions on LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman in recent weeks but it was Tiger’s turn after Colin Montgomerie’s appearance on the Bunkered podcast.

Monty has said he felt Tiger should have retired at St Andrews in the summer.

Monty believes the 150th edition of the Open at the home of golf with a huge crowd would have been the perfect place for a rousing send-off for Tiger.

Now, unless Monty has inside knowledge – and he may well have – I don’t see Tiger calling it a day anytime soon.

He certainly wasn’t making any hints to that effect at St Andrews, that’s for sure. In fact, if anything, he was hoping to be back again probably around 2030 to have another go.

We all know when it comes to his career Tiger is a man who pays little attention to anyone. Deeply focused, driven to be the best he can be, every aspect of his approach to golf is calculated.

I get the impression he believes he can still compete and win major tournaments in the years ahead and while I don’t see so much of him these days from I do see it has certainly been encouraging.

I watched some of the Match at the weekend and from what I saw Tiger’s ball-speed was ridiculously good.

Trust me, this guy is not going anywhere.

Pelley is a terrific appointment by the IGF

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, has been named chairman of the International Golf Federation. Image: PA

The International Golf Federation is in good hands following European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley’s appointment as chairman.

Keith has done a brilliant job in expanding the DP World Tour and helping foster the strategic alliance with the PGA Tour during a hugely challenging period for the game.

Keeping the tour running during the pandemic was a thankless and enormous task but Keith does a terrific job for our tour.

I’ve no doubt he will make his mark at the IGF too.

A great ambassador for the game, he knows the administrative elements of golf inside out and I’m sure he will make a positive impression in his four-year stint as chairman.