Two years after wading into the icy cold water of the North Sea in the days before teeing up in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, David Drysdale is aiming to use this week’s event to ensure he can end his season with a much more enjoyable dip in the Persian Gulf.
Less than a fortnight before the European Tour’s showpiece pro-am in 2015, Drysdale tore his right calf muscle climbing out of a bunker during the third round of the Italian Open. He needed a wheelchair at two airports on the way home and was still on crutches the Friday before the Dunhill event.
It was thanks to a combination of treatment from one of Scotland’s leading physiotherapists, Stuart Barton, and the fact he took twice daily dips in the North Sea close to his Cockburnspath home that he not only managed to play but did well enough to secure his card through picking up a cheque for close to £75,000 after finishing ninth behind Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.
“I was playing really well at the time and that injury came at just such a bad time,” recalled Drysdale. “In hindsight, though, maybe the week to ten days that I couldn’t do anything was a good thing. I was able to rest and played well here.”
Doing so again would virtually guarantee the 42-year-old’s place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next month. Helped by finishing fourth in the Irish Open in July, Drysdale is sitting 49th in the Race to Dubai – his highest position since finishing a career-best 48th on the money list in 2009.
“I should only need to stand up and play half decent over the next few weeks to get into the Tour Championship,” said Drysdale of having a cushion of close to £58,000 on the player currently sitting 60th, which is the cut-off for the event at Jumeirah Golf Estate. “So, I am aiming my sights a bit higher than that.
“I would like to be playing a wee bit better and, in particular, putting better heading into this week, which I always enjoy, and some of the other big ones we’ve got coming up.
“I’ve not played all that much recently, which is down to the position I’m in on the Race to Dubai this season compared to the last couple of years. It’s been nice to be able to miss a few tournaments that I would normally have played in and it turned out quite good as all three had some poor weather.”
Drysdale’s caddie, his wife Vicky, is looking forward to being back on some flatter terrain over the next few days. “That was the toughest week of my life,” she said after four days of climbing up hills and coming down dales in the British Masters at Close House.