At the 2014 Scottish Golf Awards last Friday former Ryder Cup Bernard Gallacher OBE was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement honour, teeing off the nation’s historic Ryder Cup year in fitting style.
During a glittering evening at the Hilton Glasgow before a sell-out audience of 650 guests, Gallacher enjoyed a standing ovation before collecting the final award of the night from his former Ryder Cup team-mate and two-time Major winner Sandy Lyle.
Having endured health problems last August after he suffered a cardiac arrest while attending a dinner in Aberdeen, the 65-year-old enjoyed a night to savour in the company of family and friends and Scottish sporting stars – including the Men’s Team GB curlers after their Sochi success.
Gallacher was involved in every Ryder Cup, in some capacity, from 1969 to 1995. He played on eight teams, was an assistant three times and was captain on three occasions, latterly leading the European team to victory at Oak Hill in 1995.
The Bathgate stalwart enjoyed an illustrious career on the European Tour, with 22 professional wins, finishing in the top 10 on the European Tour Order of Merit five times between 1972 and 1982.
Gallacher, who was also a Scotland international in his amateur days and won the 1967 Scottish Stroke Play Championship, said: “It was a hugely enjoyable night at the 2014 Scottish Golf Awards at the Hilton Glasgow.
“It was an honour to receive the award in front of Scotland’s golf fans and several members of my family. I’m also privileged to follow in the footsteps of past winners of the award, Sandy Lyle, Sam Torrance, Paul Lawrie and Colin Montgomerie.
“I’m lucky to have enjoyed a wonderful career, with the Ryder Cup obviously among my highlights. I played in the first Ryder Cup in Scotland in 1973 at Muirfield and, like all golf fans, I’m looking forward to it coming back for what will be a fantastic contest at Gleneagles this year.
“Well done to all the award winners and thank you to the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association for organising a wonderful evening.”
The annual showpiece event, jointly-organised by the SGU and SLGA, raised thousands of pounds for the new Scottish Golf Charitable Trust, which supports junior golf, education and environmental best practice, while all proceeds from the Jewson Long Putt Challenge went to Gallacher’s defibrillator campaign. Together with the PGA and Arrhythmia Alliance, he is campaigning for the defibrillator machine that saved his life last year to be made widely available at golf courses throughout Britain.
On a night to celebrate Scottish golf at all levels, looking back to the successes of 2013 and looking ahead to the Ryder Cup in September, Gallacher was joined by his fellow Ryder Cup Scots Lyle, Andrew Coltart, Harry Bannerman and Norman Wood for an on-stage Q&A with awards co-hosts Dougie Donnelly and Caroline Henderson.
The quintet were reacquainted with the Ryder Cup, while the Claret Jug, Solheim Cup, Dubai Desert Classic trophy – retained recently by Bernard’s nephew Stephen – and British Boys silverware, won by Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson, were also on show for the assembled guests.
Other famous personalities from golf who gathered included Craig Lee, who enjoyed his best season on the European Tour last season, former Solheim Cup player Janice Moodie and GB Golf Team Leader Jamie Spence.
Fresh from their superb silver medal, the Team GB Men’s Curling team were also in attendance, led by their skipper David Murdoch. Former Scotland and Rangers manager Walter Smith was among those representing the football world, while two of Scotland’s 1984 Grand Slam rugby heroes, Euan Kennedy and John Beattie, also took their seats.
A number of Scotland’s young amateurs were also present, with Glencruitten’s Robert MacIntyre the third recipient of the Adam Hunter Award, created following the death in 2011 of the ex-European Tour player and coach.
Solheim Cup star and Scottish Open champion Catriona Matthew was declared the Player of the Year, with her husband and part-time caddy, Graeme, and Moodie picking up her accolade.
Phil Mickelson’s superb title-winning chip in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open play-off at Castle Stuart last summer earned the Shot of the Year, with the popular American recording a special thank you message for his Scottish fans. The University of Stirling, who defended their European title last year, were named the Team of the Year.
The awards also recognised the efforts of those involved at the grass roots level of the game, with the RBS Volunteer of the Year award going to Liz Taylor from Prestonfield, while Highland club Fortrose & Rosemarkie triumphed in the RBS Junior Club of the Year.
Ross Duncan, SGU Marketing Manager, said: “We’re very proud of the success of the Scottish Golf Awards, an event which has grown considerably in stature over recent years.
“It’s great to bring so many people together to celebrate the game of golf, showcasing what we do and recognising the many great achievements within Scotland, combining the grass roots unsung heroes with world stars like Phil Mickelson.”