CARBON European Tour ambassador Richie Ramsay’s bid to retain his playing card and steer clear of Q-School went down to the wire in Valderrama.
But the Edinburgh-based professional dug deep to claim 115th place in the “Race to Dubai” and ensure an 11th successive season on Tour.
In his latest blog, Richie reflects on coping with the pressure of top level sport, standing over a make-or-break four foot putt at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters and enjoying a helping hand from tennis star Jamie Murray.
“I have been delighted with the messages of support from my sponsors and my peers.
“It is nice when you have your peers saying that was a really gutsy performance and they respect you for it.
“I know how good these guys are and how hard they work so that has been a big thing for me.
“It shows what can be achieved if you work hard and stick to your guns.
“I knew I simply had to make that putt on the Monday at Valderrama. I had a 20-footer down the hill initially on the 18th but the break took it away and I had to come back. It wasn’t ideal. It would have been a long winter if I hadn’t knocked that one in.
“I was free-flowing on the Sunday and I knew from the predictor that I had a good chance of keeping my card if I kept it going.
“I was pretty nervous on the Monday after the weather had delayed us but I played steadily down the stretch, hitting every fairway and green coming in.
“The finish at Valderrama can be tough if you get out of position. So I knew every shot was treacherous in the circumstances.
“When I signed my card the predictor had me at 116, which was right on the limit.
“I was proud I had done enough to give myself a chance but obviously there is a massive difference between 116 and 117.
“It was out of my hands by then. The people out on the golf course were dictating what would happen to me. It was all up in the air but when the dust settled I was in a share of 11th place and confirmed at 115.
“Looking back, I felt I handled the pressure pretty well but I was as nervous as I’ve ever been, with everyone talking about where people were on the Race to Dubai standings.
“You can start to doubt yourself and what you do on a day to day basis. Your belief can take a hit. That is probably the same in business.
“I did struggle with that at times but I would speak to my doctor brother Robin and Dr Andrew Murray about maintaining my belief, eating and sleeping properly, staying strong mentally and de-stressing at the gym so I able to perform.
“I know Jamie Murray a bit from Stirling Uni and I bumped into him with his dad at the BMW at Wentworth this year.
“You look at him and he is a multiple major champion but one of the most down to earth guys you could meet.
“His achievements have been amazing. There aren’t many guys from Scotland to make number one in the world in their particular sport.
“Jamie is under-rated in Scotland, probably because of Andy’s incredible career.
“He has been through ups and downs and has been in situations similar to what I was experiencing.
“As much as friends and family are supportive they don’t know what it means to be knocked out of a tournament or in my case miss a cut.
“In tennis you can be sitting in an airport on your own on a Friday night in China waiting for a flight out.
“Despite doing all the right things maybe they aren’t quite clicking for some reason. There are a lot of similarities with golf.
“I would text Jamie occasionally to see how he was getting on.
“I might be stretching in my room at the back of five in the morning while he was going through a physio session at night after a hard match in a different time zone.
“There is a mutual respect there and that continual fight to be the best you can be. So Jamie’s input was appreciated.
“It wasn’t ideal battling to hold onto the card after enjoying my best season on Tour last year.
“But I can afford to relax now with Angela and our daughter Olivia – and freshen-up mentally and physically before mapping out my plans for the new season.”