Carbon’s European Tour ambassador Richie Ramsay reflects on the Middle East Swing which marked the start of his 2020 season, with long-hauls now looming to the Middle East, Kenya and India. And with Ryder Cup veterans Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell back in the winner’s circle, Richie admits their success will be spurring him on.
“I’m 36 now and still think I have a lot to offer. I know I can compete on particular types of courses.
“Forty will be a good number to sit down and have an assessment of what I want to do and how I want to spend my time going forward.
“But it has been inspirational seeing Lee Westwood win at 46 and Graeme McDowell add to his titles, at 40, in the opening weeks of the new season.
“I have always admired G-Mac’s attitude and ability to play under pressure. He’s a really nice guy, always says hi on the range.
“He drifts away at times, goes quiet for a while, then comes back in style.
“McDowell has natural talent, of course, but he has had to work hard at his game.
“I’d say he is a good one for any junior or amateur golfer to follow. He doesn’t hit it 320 yards in the air down the middle every time. He makes the best of what he has and by taking advantage of the important aspects, like putting and the mental side of the game.
“I have always looked at players with similar games to mine, who make the most of it, and G-Mac is definitely one of those guys. His record on the European Tour and in the States is impressive, with a Major and Ryder Cups to his name. He has done everything in the sport. Graeme is just very good under pressure and in our line of work people really respect that.
“Looking back at my opening three tournaments of the year, I felt I was very steady. I played a lot of good stuff.
“I pretty much had the whole of December off. That was enforced, sorting out some injury issues.
“I had a lot of time at home with the family, which was good. You have to get away from golf sometimes, as in any line of work. It can be easier said than done of course.
“But this was probably the longest break I have had for the best part of 10 years.
“I didn’t really have a huge desire to take out the clubs again until I was getting ready to head off to Dubai to work with my long-time coach, Ian Rae.
“I feel good after the three-week run and technically the swing is in a very good place.
“You’re always looking for a steady start and a feeling of consistency. That is vital to any golfer. It means you’re doing a lot of things right.
“You also want to be in a good mental place and there weren’t any clear weaknesses in my game. You can always improve aspects of your game and the short irons weren’t as good as they might have been. But the last two or three rounds in Saudi saw me giving myself more chances of birdies and a joint 21stfinish.
“My driving and long game were really good. I putted well without holing a lot. I need to stay on top of things.
“A lot of it comes down to good preparation.
“Those five or six days in Dubai were important because I was playing with some clients and they were pretty much beating me. That wasn’t good!
“Slowly but surely we fixed the problem before the tournament schedule began.
“Sometimes you have to go back before you can go forward and it was a timely reminder that there was still a lot of hard work ahead of me.
“I feel I’m not too far away. It’s just about tidying-up a few things and converting chances when I head out again to Oman, Qatar, Kenya and India.
“That’s a four-week run and Kenya will be a first for me. India is an interesting place. It has taken up a lot of time on the visa front. So hopefully it will be worth all the effort!”
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