RICHIE Ramsay has been handed one last throw of the dice in his bid to take part in the European Tour’s Dubai finale for the fourth year running after securing a spot in the Turkish Airlines Open in a fortnight’s time.
However, the 30-year-old Aberdonian, who has made the top 30 on the money-list for the last two years, has no intention of beating himself up if he can’t use that event to climb from 71st into the all-important leading 60.
“There’s still a chance for me to have a big end to the season, but I had an MRI scan after the Dunhill and that came back showing up two bulging discs in my neck that causes issues,” said Ramsay after a session with his coach, Ian Rae, at Kingsfield near Linlithgow. “It ties in because the guys I’ve been seeing in the physio truck over the past few months – and they’d done an unbelievable job getting me through the season – have been telling me that I need to ease off hitting balls to help my neck.
“I’m trying to create every negative as a positive. If I don’t get into the Race to Dubai, it will give me extra prep time for the 2014 schedule. If I don’t get to hit as many balls as usual, it will allow me to get dialled in with my short game. I’ve also got a good plan in place moving forward with my gym work.”
A year ago, Ramsay was still basking in the glory of his second Tour triumph in the European Masters. He started the 2013 campaign hoping to climb into the world’s top 50 but has slipped to 125th. “It just goes to show that you can’t take your foot off the pedal,” said the former US Amateur champion. Stevie Gallacher is playing great at the moment and he’s got these events coming up and will be looking at securing enough world ranking points to get him into The Masters next year.
“It has been frustrating this year because I’ve struggled a lot of the time to hit balls due to my neck. Now I’ve got an idea of what the problem is I can move forward. To do that, though, I’m going to have to take some time off and that’s probably mean me sacrificing the South African tourmanents that start the 2014 schedule. I’m old and wise enough now to realise that there’s no point having average weeks out here. You need to have good weeks and they are only really possible when you are fully fit.”
Part of Ramsay’s time off will be spent in Atlanta with his American wife, Angela. “The great thing is that I go there and get on with my work without any distractions,” he said. “A week off for me is putting and chipping and going to the gym. If I spent a week off lying in the sun it would drive me nuts. I love being pro-active and getting to the end of a day feeling I’ve done as much as I possibly could. A luxury for me is Angela cooking dinner for me and then sitting watching the TV afterwards. I get a lot of satisfaction from productive times like that and I’m looking forward to what I need to do this winter as I know it is going to have an end result.
“The goal is to win again next year and hopefully get the world ranking back up. I did the business at the end of last year then had a busy end to the year. It was a perfect storm with everything coming together but I was travelling a lot and I think the injury was partly a result of that. But you learn from your mistakes and I’m aiming to do that in my bid to keep improving.”