Shuffling through the streets of Glasgow on the climate march the other day, some fresh-faced eco-activist eagerly asked me if I’d embraced a plant-based diet as a way of helping to save the planet. “Well, people often say my cooking leaves them feeling like they’ve just swallowed a clump of Deadly Nightshade,” I replied while chomping on a fistful of bracken deep fried in goose fat.

As a guilt-ridden reward for my drookit, environmentally conscious endeavours, I popped into one of those meaty maelstroms of a diner which had all manner of cattle on the menu and was broadly equivalent to letting an entire herd of cows stampede down your thrapple.

Everywhere you turned, there were giant sizzling rib cages, vast charred carcasses and colossal seared lumps. It looked a bit like the smouldering, scorched aftermath of the mega-meteor strike that obliterated the dinosaurs. Perhaps the end is nigh for such carnivorous excess?

As far as golf is concerned, we are nearing the conclusion of the regular European Tour season. And, like gazing at a list of edible livestock in a restaurant, there’s plenty of food for thought, particularly for those at the lower end of the rankings.

I don’t know if you watched Lucas Bjerregaard’s reaction to a share of second place in the Portugal Masters on Sunday but his tearful outpouring of relief underlined the agonised, stomach churning that goes on at this time of the year.

Since winning his second tour title on Scottish soil at the Dunhill Links in 2018, and beating Tiger Woods on his way to the semi-finals of the WGC Matchplay in 2019, Bjerregaard has experienced the kind of painful plummet that would’ve had Icarus peering through his fingers and saying ‘crikey, that looks a sair yin’.

From 45th in the world a couple of years back, the Dane dropped as low as 960th a few months ago. After one top-10 in the last two-and-a-half years, his timely runners-up finish at the weekend at least secured his full European Tour playing privileges for 2022. “It’s never meant as much to me,” he said while wiping his eyes.

In Dubai this week, countless others will be hoping for a similar act of soothing salvation. At the moment, the top 122 players on the rankings will maintain their rights for next year. After missing the cut in Portugal, Scotland’s David Drysdale has slithered to 123rd.

The 46-year-old has been in this type of perilous position before and he seems to come out fighting when his back is against the wall.

Having held some kind of European Tour category for the last 20 years, Drysdale has become such a mainstay, he could just about appear in the perennials aisle at a Dobbies Garden Centre.

Drysdale has racked up 542 tour events, has four seconds, five thirds and nearly 30 other top-10s but has yet to savour the ultimate glory.

For Drysdale, like many of his well-travelled, spirited ilk, using the term ‘journeyman’ can often be seen as damning him with faint praise but there will be plenty of new faces coming through the ranks who wouldn’t mind being labelled a ‘journeyman’ if it meant two decades of top table action and career earnings of some £5m.

The likes of Ewen Ferguson and Craig Howie, the two young Scots who graduated from the Challenge Tour at the weekend, have done wonderfully well to earn promotion from the fiercely competitive second-tier but they will know that the hard work starts now. Getting on to the main tour is a tough enough task. Staying there is even harder.

Drysdale’s longevity, therefore, has to be admired. In this game of extremely hard knocks and wildly fluctuating fortunes, the Cockburnspath man has endured the fraught trips to the Qualifying School, the near misses, the great escapes and the anguish of losing his full card by a mere £400 one year. It has all helped to mould a golfer of considerable substance.

Drysdale was never going to be the world No 1 and he may never savour the breakthrough European Tour win that he desperately craves. But the home of golf has produced countless players down the years who had far more pedigree and were more robustly championed and highly touted than Drysdale ever was yet got nowhere near emulating the rewarding career he has managed to fashion for himself. There has never been any sense of entitlement with Drysdale. Hard graft, honest toil and no shortage of talent and resolve has served him well since he turned pro back in 1995.

On the whole, 2021 has been a fine year for the Scots on the European Tour. Robert MacIntyre has carried the flag with great aplomb in the majors – he was 12th in The Masters and tied eighth at The Open – while Grant Forrest and Calum Hill knocked off the wins many were expecting them to achieve. Predicting they will do it is one thing, of course. Actually doing it is another matter.

MacIntyre, Hill and Forrest, who are all inside the leading 40 on the rankings, tee-up in Dubai looking to bolster their standing ahead of next week’s limited field, money-soaked DP World Tour Championship. As For Drysdale? Well, one of the circuit’s great survivors is fully focussed on tour survival.