It was all happening in the world of golf back in 2009. Wily old Tom Watson nearly won the Open at the age of 59, Y E Yang became the first Asian-born male golfer to win a major and Tiger Woods infamously dunted his car into a fire hydrant which led to a vast battalion of skeletons marching from a variety of sordid closets.

As for Richie Ramsay in 2009? Well, he was a rookie on the European Tour. A decade on, and three titles later, his 10-year, unbroken stint at the top table remains something to cherish.

“Being on the tour for so long is one of the things I’m most proud of,” said the Aberdonian, who has racked up career earnings of over £6.5m during this prolonged period of productivity and prosperity.

“You see Stevie [Gallacher] or guys like that who have played 16 to 20 years out here and over 500 events with maybe just the odd trip back to the qualifying school.

“That’s a huge accomplishment. Everybody can be good for a little period of time but it’s not easy to be good over a sustained period.”


Key to Ramsay’s longevity has been the presence of his long-serving coach, Ian Rae. “Without him I wouldn’t have done this,” said Ramsay. “As a team, we have always tried to get me a little bit better but not to the point where I can’t just go out and play golf.

“Ian has always been good at working with the little margins of improvement. He’s been the key cog in makings things work.”

Ramsay is in the South African resort of Sun City this week for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the penultimate, big-money Rolex Series event on the tour’s Race to Dubai.

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It was in this country 10 years ago where Ramsay won his first European Tour title, the South African Open. Here in 2019, the 36-year-old remains quietly confident that he can find some more pots of the gold in the Rainbow Nation despite a frustrating time of it in last week’s Turkish Airlines Open.

“Turkey was a wee bit of a missed opportunity,” reflected Ramsay, who was on the fringes of the top-10 after three rounds at Maxx Royal but slithered back to 32nd with a one-over 73 on the closing day.

“But there were loads of positives. I had a little chat coming down 18 with Guy [his caddie], who is very upfront and experienced, and he said, ‘you know what, you haven’t played badly today’ and I am trying to tell myself that.

“You look at the score and it might suggest otherwise, but I just didn’t hole anything and missed two four-footers and just hit one bad shot.

“It’s not how good your best golf is; it’s how good your bad golf is and I need to shoot one-under or thereabouts on a day like that.

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“I know the score is the be all and end all, but I have to get away from thinking about that. I am trying to stay patient because I feel I could go and win. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened the way I am driving it.

“I am driving it long and straight, my irons are good and I hit a lot of good putts over the four days in Turkey. Golf is a game of inches and it will drive you bananas. Sun City suits me better.

“Guys that can’t hit it straight there can have a nightmare whereas in Turkey they could get away with it a bit. Here you have to stand on the tee and suck it up.

“At Sun City, I think the best players come to the fore because you need to ball strike it a bit more.

“If you miss a shot, it’s gone. These last events [on the Race to Dubia] you have to aim high and miss high.

“You have to aim to win. If you think about being happy with 30th then there’s a good chance you’ll finish 30th.”