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Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Saturday, 17 July 2010 16:47 UK

Scotland needs golf federation, says Stephen McAllister

Stephen McAllister
McAllister turned pro in 1983 and had two European Tour wins in the 1990s

Scot Stephen McAllister feels the creation of a golf federation in his homeland may help the country keep some of its best golfers at home.

"I think our difficulty is that we don't have a federation," former pro McAllister told BBC Scotland.

"We have a union, the Scottish Golf Union, the amateur body, which is the ladies' as well, and we have the PGA, which is an association.

"If you look at Italy, if you look at France, they all have federations."

Martin Laird, the highest-ranked Scot to enter this week's Open, is based in the United States.

"Many of the young players go for education, to university; Martin Laird was one of those," said McAllister on Radio Scotland's Sports Weekly programme.

"I think Stirling University is doing a great job with the golfers there. Gordon Niven, a good friend of mine, is working on the programme and there are lots of opportunities.

"We heard Doug Sanders talk about this. If you go and you can't beat the guys in the colleges and the universities, you go and be a lawyer or you go and do whatever you've studied.

"But if you find that you're going to a university in America and you're beating these guys and you're going to Stirling or you're going to any of the other universities and you're the top dog then you've got a chance."

Of the six Scots who featured at the Open at St Andrews, three - Andrew Coltart, Stephen Gallacher and Colin Montgomerie - made the cut and McAllister sees that as a decent showing.

"They are probably our three best golfers that have made it through," said McAllister.

On this week's performance, I would be pretty happy for Scottish golf

Stephen McAllister

"Stephen Gallacher's been playing absolutely wonderfully, he played very well last week [at the Scottish Open].

"It's the Open Championship, it's a worldwide event and if we've got three competitors from Scotland then I think that's pretty good.

"On this week's performance, I would be pretty happy for Scottish golf.

"We don't have the amateurs, we had the Saltman boys here five years ago and they're off doing something else. They're trying to get into the main tour.

"It's difficult for the amateurs to jump straight into the European Tour level. There's not many people do that.

"Matteo Manassero turned pro last year, he's having a tough time as well, but he's serving his apprenticeship and we have to watch that we don't get too critical over the top amateurs not performing in the pro level because this is the top level. There's no other level than this."

Former European Tour competitor John Hawksworth added: "Another big thing with why the boys go to America is the weather.

"Look at the winter last year. For guys who were competing who are in Northern Europe, and I use England as an example and Scotland, the snow was ridiculous.

"If you're out in Florida, in college or wherever in America, it's a great advantage to be hitting golf balls and playing competitive golf, 11, 12 months of the year.

"And there's more money and they really do look after you."

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see also
Scots trio miss cut at St Andrews
17 Jul 10 |  Golf
Late slip derails Gallacher bid
15 Jul 10 |  Golf
On form Gallacher eager for Open
11 Jul 10 |  Golf
Montgomerie forsees Scots revival
08 Jul 10 |  Golf
Laird relishing Scotland return
31 May 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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