Stephen Gallacher embraces changes to golf swing to save career

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Stephen Gallacher
Stephen Gallacher returns from injury at the Paul Lawrie Match Play event

Stephen Gallacher says his career could have been at an early end had he not embraced changes to his golf swing that were forced upon him.

Gallacher, 41, has had a troublesome hand injury for more than a year.

The Scot has had an operation and a number of injections to try to eliminate the problem.

"When the surgeon says, 'if you keep swinging the club like this then you may not be playing in later life,' I thought it is time to change," he said.

"I have played a certain way in the wind for years and have to change it and try to remember it.

"If I don't change it, then I am going to be injured again and it may be career-threatening, so it is easy to do if that is put in front of you."

Gallacher has not played since missing the cut at the Nordea Masters in early June but returns at this week's Paul Lawrie Match Play event at Archerfield in East Lothian.

He believes it is the perfect event for his return as he eases his way back into regular play on the tour.

"I think staying at home and playing a course I know well with family here is great," he told BBC Scotland.

"It's a great format and one that's going to be fun and you just hope that you are going to be good enough to do well on the day to progress."

Gallacher, who faces Italian Renato Paratore in round one, is one of seven Scots in the 64-strong field with host Paul Lawrie, Scott Jamieson, Marc Warren, David Drysdale, Craig Lee and Richie Ramsay also competing.

Wood eager for Ryder Cup

Chris Wood
Chris Wood won the PGA Championship earlier this year

Among the favourites for the event is England's Chris Wood, who is close to securing his place in the European Ryder Cup team that heads to Hazeltine in September to take on the USA.

Wood leapt up the Ryder Cup rankings by winning the PGA Championship at Wentworth in May.

Now ranked as world number 25, Wood says his target for the season has always been to be in contention for selection in Darren Clarke's team.

"I always had a goal of giving myself a chance to make the team," explained Wood.

"No pressure if I don't qualify, I just want to put myself in contention. Since the win I have been well in [the automatic picks]. I have also put in some solid performances since.

"I certainly feel like I have earned the spot if I get it but obviously I want to finish the qualifying well as well.

"I love team stuff. I played a lot of football when I was younger, a centre forward scoring all the goals.

"The Ryder Cup is obviously so unique it's one of the only times you get the feel for that sort of environment again and I thrive on that sort of stuff."

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