TWELVE months after he almost won the £3.3m event, Richie Ramsay is out of this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship without hitting a ball.
But, in the countdown to the pro-am starting on Thursday at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews, David Drysdale has won his race against time to be involved in the tournament.
Ramsay, who finished joint-second behind Englishman Oliver Wilson after leading with a few holes to play last year, announced his withdrawal due to an eye infection on Twitter.
“Pulled out of @dunhilllinks,” wrote the Edinburgh-based Aberdonian on the social media site. “My eye is still not right,” he added in reference to him having also been forced to miss last week’s Porsche European Open in Germany.
Stressing his disappointment at missing the long-established Alfred Dunhill-sponsored event, the three-times European Tour winner added: “Great tournament, watched it since I was eight.”
With four regular events to go, it’s getting to crunch time in the Race to Dubai and this week’s purse is one of the biggest of the season.
Lying 42nd, however, Ramsay, who won the Hassan Trophy in Morocco earlier in the year, has probably done enough already to secure a place in the top 60 for the lucrative end-of-season Final Series.
Sitting 121st on that money-list, Eyemouth-attached Drysdale is fighting for survival as he needs to climb 11 spots by the end of the Hong Kong Open on 25 October.
It’s a huge bonus, therefore, that the 40-year-old has been given the green light to try and secure a decent pay-day this weekend after fearing his season had been ended prematurely.
As he was climbing out of a bunker at the first hole in the third round of the Italian Open in Monza a week past Saturday, Drysdale tore his right calf muscle.
He was on crutches but treatment from physiotherapist Stuart Barton, as well as a dip in the North Sea near his home at Cockburnspath, has enabled him to beat the clock in his fitness fight.
“Absolute awesome work by Stuart Barton and his team to get DD for the #dunhilllinks,” wrote his wife, Vicky, on Twitter.