HE’S spent lockdown with the family and shared popular on-line weekly putting tips with Carbon clients. But now, with tournament golf up and running again, our European Tour ambassador, Richie Ramsay, has returned to the fray at the British Masters.
“I hurt my knee training when we went into lockdown so I’ve been working with a physio in Aberdeen over Zoom.
“But I felt good enough to travel to Close House, outside Newcastle, where we are living in a sort of bubble. It’s been a fantastic effort by the Tour team to allow us to stay safe and play golf.
“And I want to take this opportunity to thank every essential worker who continued to go into work while we were in lockdown.
“I have been concentrating on building-up my body and working on technique to get ready for playing again. Four months off is longer than I have ever had before in my career.
“A lot of the top players probably won’t have minded it. They are financially secure and it’s nice to take a break, especially with so many of the Tours blending into each other nowadays.
“I was watching an All-Blacks DVD recently and they almost have mini-sabbaticals after a gruelling season, recharging the batteries, mentally and physically.
“So I have tried to be positive and come back with a fresh pair of eyes after the lockdown, which kicked-in soon after I returned from the Middle East.
“I suppose I’m in a more fortunate position than many younger golfers. I have been on the Tour for a long time, almost non-stop, and our playing cards are being retained for next year.
“It is harder as a young pro trying to make your way in the world, particularly on the developmental tours where sponsorship has been hit hard.
“Many of these guys work over the winter, save up money and then play to take that step-up onto the European Tour.
“Some might even be lost to the game because it’s so hard to build a plan right now.
“My plans are a bit more definite. I am likely to play the other five of the UK Swing, certainly the Scottish Open, the Dunhill and BMW PGA.
“But it’s tricky. I will take it week by week. My risk profile is quite high because I have an auto-immune issue.
“I am certainly more comfortable playing the UK tournaments so the Carbon colours will be spotted again on Fridays. I will take a view on the ones further afield nearer the time.
“There can’t be many fields which haven’t been adversely affected by the pandemic.
“It’s a new landscape for everybody, working out what is going to be the new norm for each individual in any line of business, including the potential impact of having to go into quarantine.
“I have qualified for the US Open in the past and, while right now I think the risk would be too high to travel with so many hot spots popping-up, hopefully that could change by the autumn if I managed to get one of the spots that are available for Winged Foot.
“The golfing calendar, like everything else, has been thrown up in the air. Even the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits has had to be deferred for 12 months.
“That wasn’t exactly a surprise. For me, it was the sensible decision. I didn’t see it going any other way, for various reasons.
“A huge number of people from all over the world want to attend Ryder Cups so that was a problem right away. The fans are an integral part of the spectacle.
“Playing it behind closed doors would have detracted so much from the tournament, as well as dealing a massive blow to Tour finances on both sides of the Atlantic, but particularly to European Tour.
“It’s a vital part of the golf landscape, at all levels of the sport.
“On the home front, it’s good to see club golfers now enjoying their game again – and many clubs attracting new members. Hopefully, that can be sustained.
“Golf ticks so many boxes in terms of physical and mental wellbeing, playing outdoors in a nice, safe environment for three or four hours. Clubs across the country have a real opportunity to show the value of having a membership.”
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