Stephen Gallacher, Scotland’s top golfer sounded like a national spokesman for tourism yesterday as he explained why playing at home is so special.

“First of all you have the history of it,” he said, as he finalised his preparations for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane which gets underway today.

“The Home of Golf is a big draw.

“You’re playing courses that have been down for hundreds of years and you’ve got a bit of romance with St Andrews and all the Open venues.

“Plus it’s great to come to courses like Gullane and Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen, taking it to all points of the country.

“We’ve got all different varying types, inland, links courses, parkland, heathland... It’s just a small country to come and play any type of golf.

“We are so blessed and so lucky we have got all diversities of golf. You’ve got everything you want.”

Having had a difficult year since making his big effort to clinch a place in the European Ryder Cup team last summer, Gallacher is hoping the type of golf he produces at Gullane will be closer to what established him as the leading Scot in the world rankings.

With Marc Warren now breathing down his neck, just one place behind him, having shown superior form this season, Gallacher’s familiarity with the terrain this week could help him return to his best.

“It’s a course I’ve played a lot, probably around 100 times,” he said.

“It’s in as good condition as any course you’ll play all year and hopefully it does spark it back in.

“I’m very familiar with it, so hopefully I can bring back some good memories playing here and contend on Sunday.”

Gallacher is among those who have made a trip up to St Andrews to check out the Old Course this week ahead of next week’s Open Championship, but he is now fully focused on what Scottish golfers consider their fifth major.

“I’m not even thinking about next week,” he said.

“This is as important as next week for us guys. Whenever you play in front of your family and friends you want to win it or be competing for it.”