By Tony Jimenez
GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Stephen Gallacher has had to wait 19 years to bring his Ryder Cup dreams to life but the seasoned European Tour campaigner believes the timing is just about perfect.
The 39-year-old Scottish rookie is as proud as punch to finally be involved in golf's biggest grudge match especially as he will be making his debut against the United States on his own doorstep.
"It was my lifetime ambition, it was my goal to get here," Gallacher told a news conference on Wednesday.
"I am very excited and it's all a bit surreal still because I live so close but it's one I'm embracing. I'm just trying to use the positive energy.
"I think I am a better golfer and I think I feel ready to play now," said Gallacher who lives in the town of Linlithgow, a 30-minute drive from Gleneagles.
"It's been hard, you make a lot of sacrifices and do a lot of hard work and it's paid off to be here in Scotland. As a proud Scot, a couple of days out before the tournament, I just can't wait."
The Ryder Cup rookie, who turned professional in 1995, is the nephew of Bernard Gallacher, three-times a European captain in the 1990s.
The 2013 and 2014 Dubai Desert Classic champion said his uncle had given him a few tips on how to keep a lid on his excitement before the matches get underway with Friday morning's fourballs.
"The hard thing I think is to conserve energy," said Gallacher. "You're here quite a long time before the Friday start.
"My uncle told me it's a long week with early mornings and late nights and to conserve my energy."
Gallacher was one of captain Paul McGinley's three wildcard selections after missing out on an automatic qualifying spot by the narrowest of margins but world number one Rory McIlroy said the Scot thoroughly deserved his place in the team.
"He has had a very solid couple of years and especially being from Scotland and being able to play in the Ryder Cup in your home country is huge," said the Northern Irishman.
"I love that he's on the team and as a rookie he should just go out and embrace it and enjoy it.
"I remember my first match at Celtic Manor," added McIlroy in reference to the 2010 edition in Wales. "I was so uptight and didn't really want to make a mistake.
"That isn't the way to approach it. You have to almost go out and be carefree and freewheel. That's what will enable you to play your best golf."
(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)