In a good way, of course. From Walker Cup winner to whippet dug trainer, it's perhaps fitting that the big Lanarkshire man is now a regular feature on the greyhound racing circuit. After all, Rankin has a fine golfing pedigree and an impressive track record himself.
Mind you, the 46-year-old Drumpellier member would be the first to admit that he's perhaps not quite as streamlined as his four-legged friends, and things have certainly changed in the amateur game that he flourished in during the 1990s.
"I was down at the Amateur Championship the other week and all these young guys are like skeletons," he said with a chuckle. "We were heavy boys. It's gym, gym, gym these days."
The Shawfield stadium, on the southside of Glasgow, where his son Daniel is the racing manager, may be a world away from the golfing arenas that he competed in during a brief stint on the European Tour a decade ago, but for a fiery competitor like Rankin, there is still that buzz that gets the juices flowing. The former Scottish matchplay and strokeplay champion has harboured a passion for this particular dog's life for a number of years and he now has almost as many beasts as he's allowed golf clubs in the bag.
"I've got 12 dogs," said Rankin, who estimates that it costs him around £300 a month to look after his litter but added that he more than makes up for that in prize money.
"I've been keeping dogs for maybe 14 years now. Greyhounds are very loveable animals – all they seem to want to do is sleep and eat. It's easy to become very attached to them. I turn them over quite a lot these days, mostly at Shawfield but in other Open meetings. I had one dog that won seven out of nine races and I have one at the moment that has the heart of a lion and is getting better and better each time it runs."
It's not all plain sailing, though, and there are plenty of downsides brought about by the rigours of racing. "Last year I lost six dogs in seven weeks," he admitted. "Smashed legs, every one of them. All of them had to be put to sleep. If their legs are smashed so badly there's not much you can do. Some of these dogs are doing 40mph on the track."
Rankin himself has not been immune to the ravages that a sport can visit on a body. His rookie season on the European circuit back in 2001 was hampered by a bout of tennis elbow and now he is recovering from a cartilage operation on his left knee.
"It was knackered and I'm just starting to hit balls again," said Rankin, who memorably earned his European Tour card by finishing second in the qualifying school final at San Roque in 2000 after a closing 65 that featured a hole in one.
A Walker Cup winner at Nairn in 1999, some of Rankin's GB&I team-mates from that famous 15-9 triumph, namely Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Simon Dyson and Graeme Storm, have done not too badly for themselves in the paid game. Yet it is another member of that side that Rankin, who was a relative latecomer to the pro scene aged 33, is taking inspiration from as he looks to the future.
Gary Wolstenholme, England's most decorated amateur, made the switch at 48 and has now racked up three wins on the European Senior Tour. That is the stage that Rankin, injury permitting, is targeting.
"The Senior Tour is the ambition," said Rankin, who won the Northern Open on the Tartan Tour back in 2001. "I still hit it 280, maybe 300 yards and the senior courses are mostly about the same length as Drumpellier. Gary never hit it far, I was always about 80 yards ahead of him. But he was a smashing player, a fantastic chipper and putter and he's someone I can take a lot from. Just look what he's done on the Tour recently? Fantastic.
"I still have plenty of goals left. I just need to get fit again. Even standing on the tee with my mates still gives me a buzz. I'd play every day if I could, because you never lose that competitive edge."
Like his greyhounds in the slips, Rankin is clearly eager to get going again.