David Drysdale left with 'zero status' on DP World Tour after 20-year stint

David Drysdale left with ‘zero status’ on DP World Tour after 20-year stint

Keen to keep playing due to having one eye on the seniors’ circuit, a return to the Challenge Tour, where he won twice early on his professional career, is an option but, as things stand, Drysdale no longer has any standing as far as playing on the main tour is concerned.

“I didn’t actually know that, to be honest, so it did come as a bit of a shock,” he told Scotland on Sunday after arriving back at his home overlooking Pease Bay on the Berwickshire coast earlier this week at the end of an exhausting and, ultimately, deflating campaign. “I’ve basically got a full exemption on the Challenge Tour next year, but I don’t have any category for the main tour, which is kind of weird.

“For 21 seasons, I’ve had a category that got me a minimum of 15 starts every year and I’ve been fully exempt for 18 seasons in the last 21. It’s a little bit raw at the moment, but it’s been coming all year. It’s not a shock that it happened.

David Drysdale in action during the DS Automobiles Italian Open 2022 at Marco Simone Golf Club in September. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

“I don’t really know what I am going to do, to be honest. I have no idea at the moment. Obviously the only avenue of playing on the main tour would be getting some invitations. That’s an option, hopefully, and I have actually sent an email to (DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley) this week. Hopefully I can sneak in for a few invitations, which would be nice.”

Drysdale enjoyed his best season in 2009, racking up six top-ten finishes to end up 48th in the standings. He finished 56th as recently as 2017 before agonizingly losing in a play-off as he came close to landing an elusive maiden win in the 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

However, it was a struggle before he secured the final card in last year’s points list and, hindered by a niggling neck and shoulder injury, the writing was perhaps on the wall, though he battled valiantly right to the bitter end.

“I played 15 out of the last 16 weeks and just ran out of steam, I think,” he added. “Ach, it’s been a strange year. I’ve been slightly injured from the Porsche European Open at the start of June and never really had a chance of doing myself justice, though not being injured enough to miss all these weeks.

David and wife/caddie Vicky celebrate one of the rare highlights of his 2022 campaign – a hole-in-one during the Made in HimmerLand event in Denmark. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

“Then, in my last five weeks of golf, there’s been some decent stuff thrown in there. There’s a glimmer of stuff there that makes you think ‘I can stick at it and still compete’. I was doing okay for a couple of days in Madrid, did all right in Portugal then had a couple of good days last week (when he opened with two 67s in the Q-School second stage before slipping out of contention).

“But, ending up 158th in the order of merit, means that I have zero status on the DP World Tour next year. Over the last couple of years with the Covid situation and having so many categories, there are certainly guys that finished outside of that who have still got their card. But that was obviously Covid rules with safety nets in place.

“Listen, it’s been a poor season and I gave myself a half chance in Portugal. That was a shame as I had to finish eighth there to avoid stage two and I finished in a tie for eighth, but it’s over a whole year, so there is no point looking back on that one event.

“Last week was just weird. I was totally in control for two days at stage two and then, I don’t know, just didn’t have it over the weekend. I just didn’t have anything. I think I was too tired, having run out of energy and just made mistake after mistake.”

The 2022 DP World Tour campaign finishes with next week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai before the new campaign starts almost straight away, with events in both South Africa and Australia on the schedule before the end of the year.

“I’ll write to a few sponsors and a few promoters and see if I can maybe get a few invitations early in the season,” said Drysdale, who cut his competitive teeth as an assistant professional at Dunbar and is now attached to Eyemouth. “We’ve got South Africa coming up shortly and we’ll see what help I might get through the tour.

“As for the Challenge Tour, I know they are going to have a decent schedule at the start of next season in South Africa and I think it is going to mirror what happened this year with a number of events being co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Round.

“That’s an option, though, at my age it’s not a fantastic option. I’ve spent enough time on the main tour to make me realize that playing with these young kids on Challenge Tour is not hugely appealing. No, it’s not as though it’s not appealing. But playing with these young kids who hit it miles on golf courses that will not be particularly difficult, it is going to be tough to compete against them. But there will be events that will suit my game, so I might pick and choose a few to play in.”

Along with Stephen Gallacher, Drysdale has one eye on turning 50. He’ll be fully exempt for the Legends Tour in Europe, but is also planning to try and qualify for the US-based Champions Tour. “The plan was always to play until maybe 55,” he said. “I want to play some golf for the next couple of years and have a little crack at some seniors’ for a couple of seasons. Paul Lawrie’s tour in Scotland is going to look very good next year, so there’s always going to be somewhere to play, but obviously I’d like to play at the highest level I possibly can, having done so for this many years.

“That was the plan, but there are plenty of guys in my position who end up in no man’s land, really, for a couple of years. You want to remain competitive. Just look at Thongchai Jaidee and Robert Karlsson. They are two great examples of people having spent two or three years out here not being particularly competitive, but have got through the Champions Tour Q-School, which is obviously very tough, but have gone on to do well.

“The key is to remain fit and keep your game in some sort of shape, but for me now it’s a case of ‘where can I play, what can I do over the next couple of years and do I want to do it?’ ”

Deep down, he knows he does. “I’ve done this for all my life, so what else am I going to do?” he said when it was pointed out that there was no hint of his tone being pessimistic despite clearly feeling more disappointed than at any stage in his career. “It’s not as though I’m qualified in any other line of work. I’ve played golf for a living basically since 1995/1996. That’s all I know what to do and how to do.

“Listen, I’m not going to lie. At my age, it isn’t easy. But I definitely still want to play and I still think I can compete on that main tour. But the hard thing now is that I don’t have any category. The situation I’m in I don’t think I can even enter a (DP World Tour) golf tournament.”

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