Stephen Gallacher showed his continued support for the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts as he teed off for the Pro-Am ahead of the tenth staging of the tournament.
Gallacher, a member of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team last year, has a long association with the event and was at the Macdonald Spey Valley course to promote the Stephen Gallacher Foundation, which enjoys the support of SSE Scottish Hydro.
The Scot is also sponsored by Macdonald Hotels and said it was an easy decision to endorse the tournament as he takes a week off after playing at Chambers Bay in the US Open Championship.
“It’s great to be here and I’m just glad to be able to help the tournament and support the Challenge Tour in Scotland,” he said. “My association with the tournament is quite a natural fit to be honest.
If you play the Challenge Tour and are good enough, you will progress quickly - Brooks is now in the top 25 in the World Rankings
“Macdonald Hotels are a sponsor of mine as well as the tournament here at Spey Valley, and then SSE Scottish Hydro are big supporters of my Foundation so we have been able to link some of the work my Foundation is doing in with the tournament.
“When you add all that up, it was a no-brainer for me to get involved this week – I had the week off after the US Open so I was able to come up today and play the Pro-Am and support the event.”
And the 40 year old believes the Challenge Tour is the perfect place for players to develop their game, citing Brooks Koepka, winner of the Scottish Hydro Challenge in 2013, as a prime example (video highlights below).
“The Challenge Tour is massively important to the development of young players, especially the guys who are making their way in the pro ranks and trying to learn about the life of a touring professional.
“You learn about every aspect of life on tour – the good, the bad and the ugly at points – and if you can succeed on the Challenge Tour then you are going to have a great chance of progressing to The European Tour and winning there as well.
“I think the success of this tournament over the past ten years speaks for itself. A lot of the new generation of top players have either won the Scottish Hydro Challenge or competed here.
“Brooks Koepka is obviously a stand out. When you see he won this event two years ago and then look at what he achieved since then it just shows you the platform the Challenge Tour provides young professionals.
“If you play the Challenge Tour and are good enough then you will progress through the ranks very quickly. Brooks is now in the top 25 in the World Rankings and will tell you himself that the Challenge Tour provided the best grounding he could have possibly had in the professional game.”