Late decision on David Drysdale’s fitness for Dubai

David Drysdale: Back injury. Picture: Jane Barlow
David Drysdale: Back injury. Picture: Jane Barlow
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DAVID Drysdale will try not to let his heart rule his head when he makes a last-minute decision about whether or not he is fit enough to tee it up for the first time in 2014 in tomorrow’s opening round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The 38-year-old missed out on the opening two legs of the European Tour’s Middle East Swing – in Abu Dhabi and Qatar – after hurting his back on the day he was due to travel out for the first of those events.

He has been receiving treatment from Stuart Barton, the Scottish rugby team’s phsyiotherapist, over the past fortnight and made a belated journey out to the United Arab Emirates at the weekend. But, after finding his practice severely restricted under the watchful eye of coach Jamie Gough, Richard’s brother, Drysdale is toying with the idea of holding off his return for another week.

“The problem is a swollen disc in my back,” said the Cockburnspath-based player. “It started on the Thursday morning that I was due to fly out to Abu Dhabi. I woke up with this pain in my back and it took me two hours to get out of bed.

“I have been having treatment every day from Stuart Barton back in Scotland and it has eased. But I don’t know yet whether I am going to play here. I have only been able to hit 20 balls on the range and play a few holes. I don’t know whether I could last 18 holes.”

Drysdale would be foolish to risk long-term damage and has three events coming up in South Africa, where he has produced some of his best performances since establishing himself on the circuit.

“Maybe it could be too early to come back here and I should wait till South Africa next week,” he added, casting one eye towards the Joburg Open.

One thing in Drysdale’s favour, should he wake up tomorrow feeling his back sore and need time for it to ease off, is that he has been handed a late draw in the opening round, in which Craig Lee and Paul Lawrie are paired together and Peter Whiteford and Chris Doak, too.

Among the Scots flying solo is Scott Jamieson, although his first appearance since taking a break to enjoy becoming a father should be entertaining in a group that includes former Open champion John Daly.