Matching the best-ever season of his career might look like a formidable task, but Stephen Gallacher thinks he might actually find 2015 a little easier.
The 40-year-old Scot’s place in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was the culmination of a fantastic 2014 which saw him rise 30 places in the World Rankings, win £1.4 million in prizemoney and become the first man to retain the prestigious Dubai Desert Classic.
But he thinks that his success now allows him to draw up a more tailored schedule to help him peak more often for the top events, and he’s particularly targeting a home double in July.
“Last year I played nine events in a row going into the PGA at valhalla and was basically exhausted,” he said of his season-long chase for Ryder Cup points.
“I don’t need to do that next year. I’m going to try and peak this year for certain bits of the year, the world events, the majors and the like, and especially the Scottish Open and the Open.
“The Scottish at Gullane before the Open at St Andrews is brilliant. I think those are the are the ones I would most love to win, both of them, and I’ll be targeting them.
“Gullane have always been great to me, they’ve given me playing rights for many years and I know all the courses pretty well.
“And obviously St Andrews when the Open is there it’s a different atmosphere to anywhere in the world. If you asked any golfer on the planet, they would want to win either the Masters or the Open at St Andrews.”
Gallacher has of course won around the Old Course before, in his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2004.
“Having won around the place, you understand it,” he said. “You are basically playing the weather and not the course.
“You know roughly where the pins are going to be, but if the wind is blowing in four different directions, there’s four different ways to play a hole.
“If it’s a flat calm, you need to shoot low but if it’s blowing, it can be the hardest course in the world to get close. It’s understanding what you need for each day.”
Gallacher admires Tiger Woods’ two Open victories around the Old Course but he believes Nick Faldo is the master of the old track.
“I played a practice round there with Faldo, maybe in 1995 or 2000,” he said. “He had book upon book of notes about the course, permutations on how to play it.
“He spoke about it; `if the flag is there and the wind is there, I hit it there’. That sort of stuff.
“He was a strategist and that is what that course needs. He’s won twice around there and he couldn’t overpower the course, so he did it another way.”
First up is the defence of his Dubai title he’ll play Abu Dhabi but not Qatar and then he plans to go to America the week before the first WGC event, the Cadillac at Doral.
“I’m going to take the week off before the Masters, because I think Augusta is a place where you need to be more,” he said. “I’ll try to play with Jose Maria Olazabal and big Sandy again, the guys who have been round it.
“It’s important to get the schedule right. When the pressure’s on I think I’m actually better because it’s my psyche, I like being up for it and I struggle when going through the motions.
“If I’m tired or what not, I’m useless. I need to something to aim for so the big tournaments are great for me.
“It’s fatigue that’s the killer, it’s my nemesis. That’s why I need to get my schedule right.”