/Hazeltine rekindles Gallagher’s stirring Ryder Cup memories

Hazeltine rekindles Gallagher’s stirring Ryder Cup memories

It sounds glamorous, right? It does, until you realize Gallagher must be on the set at 3 every morning in preparation for the early show. There is nothing special about 3 a.m., period. Gallagher, a telephone operator from Hazeltine, said that “it’s my job now” during Thursday afternoon’s Ryder Cup opening ceremonies. Gallagher’s unique perspective on the Ryder Cup is that there are worse ways to earn a living. Gallagher, who was one of the world’s top 8-10 players, was the hero in 1993’s dramatic victory over Europe by 14-12. Gallagher says that the Tour Championship is still the highlight of his career. “Most people forget that I won the Tour Championship, and they don’t remember any of my victories.” They do recall that I beat Seve Ballesteros in the crucial match on the last day of the Ryder Cup.” In other words, Gallagher beat Ballesteros in the pivotal match. This was an incredible upset in golf. London bookmakers favored Ballesteros. Golf World had done an analysis of the Ryder Cup in advance and concluded that Gallagher wasn’t a member of the team. Gallagher said he didn’t have the strength to do it. It wasn’t easy enough. Couldn’t withstand the oppressive Ryder Cup pressure. Gallagher said, “Chapped (my) (derriere).” Tell me that I’m not welcome if you want to get me fired up. Gallagher played a brave, sometimes brilliant round of golf during the first two days at The Belfrey. Gallagher was part of one four-ball winning match and one losing one. When Sunday’s final began, Tom Watson, the U.S. captain, matched Gallagher against Ballesteros, the Spaniard, who has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most fierce golf competitors. Gallagher distinctly recalls that he was walking down the first fairway when he heard one of Seve’s teammates telling him to bury Gallagher. He also believed Seve would beat Gallagher 7 or 6. The European crowd was partisan and chanted “Seve!” Seve! Seve! “But I knew that I could win. Seve was certain that I could win. These are the only two players that really matter in match play. The guy you are playing. “I promise you Seve that I can win.” Gallagher was third in the Ballesteros standings at the nine-hole turn. Gallagher says that Tom Watson, the greatest golfer in the history of the sport, asked me if I needed water. Think about that. Tom Watson was fetching water from me. That’s something I won’t forget.” As they headed towards the tenth Tee, the European crowd attempted to rouse Gallagher and fire up Seve. Seve! Seve!” Gallagher won at the tenth hole to make it four up. Gallagher said, “The crowd made it all the more difficult.” Gallagher admits that the pressure was too much, particularly on the first day. Gallagher said that he was “jerking” on the first tee. “I can still remember thinking, ‘What the hell have I got myself into?'” He did a great job. The memories were rekindled at Hazeltine this week. Gallagher states, “When they play the national anthem, it doesn’t fire up your heart, if it doesn’t make you feel energized, if this doesn’t get the hackles up on your neck, then I don’t know what else would,” That’s when it dawned on me what I was doing. It was then that it hit me. Gallagher said that he could see our young players feeling the same emotions. Gallagher also stated that in 1993, Americans had expected to win. They didn’t even realize they were on foreign soil. They almost always won that time. They were expecting to win. Gallagher states, “That’s flipped.” Gallagher believes that this team is the best in American history. Gallagher believes that “our guys can win.” Gallagher says that he believes the young players are capable of enduring the pressure. It’s crucial that they get off to a strong start, not playing from behind as it has been in recent years. It will boost their confidence and make our guys doubt themselves if the Europeans get going quickly.
What else has changed in the Ryder Cup over 23 years? Gallagher states that the Ryder Cup’s 23-year history has been marked by its overall production, pageantry and all surrounding events. “The Ryder Cup is like an SEC football Saturday on steroids.” Rick Cleveland, Mississippi Today’s sports columnist. Check out his columns as well as his Sports Daily blog.