Bernard Gallacher, who played in eight Ryder Cups between 1969 and 1983 and
Captained Europe on three occasions, in 1991, 1993 and 1995, has been accorded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour.
Gallacher, 54, received the Tour’s Silver Membership Card from Ken Schofield, Executive Director of The European Tour, at the European Seniors Tour’s Annual Dinner at Wentworth Club, where Gallacher spent a total of 27 years, five as an Assistant to the late Tom Halliburton, then a further 22 as Head Professional.
During an illustrious playing career, Gallacher gained a deserved reputation for tenacity, both in tournament play and also in his Ryder Cup involvement as a player then Captain.
Born and raised in Bathgate, West Lothian, Gallacher turned professional soon after winning the Scottish Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 1967. He made an immediate impact on the professional game, being named as the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year in 1968 and winning the first two of his 13 European Tour titles in 1969, a season in which he captured the Volvo Order of Merit at the age of 20.
Gallacher played 31 ties during his eight Ryder Cup appearances, winning 13,
losing 13 and halving five. The highlights of his playing career in the biennial contest against the United States were singles victories over Lee Trevino, on his debut in 1969, and Jack Nicklaus in 1977.
He succeeded Tony Jacklin as European Captain in 1991, when Europe came close to retaining the trophy, only going down 14 Â½ – 13 Â½ at Kiawah Island. Two years later the US won 15-13 at The De Vere Belfry but Gallacher’s inspired captaincy helped Europe regain The Ryder Cup in superb style 14 Â½ – 13 Â½ at Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, New York, in 1995.
In 1997 Gallacher retired from his post at Wentworth Club to prepare for a new career on the European Seniors Tour, and made history on the first day of the new Millennium when he became the first professional to be accorded the honour of captaining the club where he worked. He was also instrumental in 1981 in facilitating The European Tour’s move from The Oval Cricket Ground to their present headquarters on the Wentworth Estate.
Last year, he ended a three year wait for his first Seniors Tour title when he won The 2002 Mobile Cup at Stoke Park, joining an elite group of players who have been successful on both The European Tour and the European Seniors Tour.
Schofield paid tribute to Gallacher’s immense contribution to European golf, first as a player then Ryder Cup Captain and also as an invaluable member of The European Tour’s Tournament Committee and Board of Directors. He said: “Bernard has been one of the most influential figures on The European Tour for over three decades and his impact on the game has been considerable. He was one of our youngest Number Ones, having won the Order of Merit in 1969, a year which marked the start of a wonderful playing career.
“His Ryder Cup record as a player is exceptional and he was an inspiring leader through his three successful captaincies, culminating in that great day at Oak Hill in 1995. He was also one of the principal reasons why the Tour moved to Wentworth, where he had succeeded Tom Halliburton as Club Professional. Bernard, along with the late Richard Doyle-Davidson and Neil Coles, was a driving force in that move from The Oval. He was also a Founder Director of the restructured Tour Board and he also served with distinction on the Tournament Committee and the Ryder Cup Board.
“On and off the course, Bernard has been central to the Tour’s development, while his work with the Golf Foundation has continued to inspire a new generation of youngsters to play golf. Bernard, Lesley and the family have been part of the Tour and Wentworth Club for many years and we are delighted to present Bernard with this honour.”
Gallacher commented: “This is a wonderful honour and I am very proud to
become an Honorary Life Member of The European Tour. Wentworth has been an integral part of my life for over three decades and I think it’s fair to say
that I played a small role in the Tour moving here from The Oval in 1981.
“In hindsight, I think it has been a beneficial move, both for Wentworth
Club and the Tour. I derived great pleasure from combining my role at
Wentworth with playing on the Tour, and more recently on the Seniors Tour.
It was a privilege to have been Ryder Cup Captain on three occasions and to
serve on the Board of The European Tour. To be made a Life Member of the Tour is very special.”