WELL, that’s us off and running again folks. No sooner has one golf season finished, than another is swinging into action amid a breathless turnaround that’s so rapid, you’ve barely got time to type the word ‘breathless’.

Attention is now so focussed on the 2022 Race to Dubai, memories of the conclusion to the 2021 Race to Dubai last Sunday are already so distant, you just about have to remind yourself what happened through archive footage in the fusty vaults of the British Pathe newsreels.

This week’s Joburg Open is something of a landmark moment; the first event under the European Tour’s new DP World Tour moniker.

More events, more money, more travel? You name it, there’s more of it. And, as far as Richie Ramsay is concerned, there will be more changes to come.

As part of the DP World Tour’s strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, the Scottish Open has become a co-sanctioned event – the field will be split between the two tours - meaning there will be a heck of a lot more elbowing, biting and gouging to gain entry.

“I don’t think people have cottoned on to that fully yet,” said Ramsay, who gets his new campaign underway in South Africa today. “It will be a bone of contention as I don’t believe the Scottish Open will be the only co-sanctioned event moving forward. There will be four, five or six of them and they will, at some point, form an elevated world tour. They will break away and there will be feeder tours into them with promotion and relegation.”

With the PGA Tour upping its purse, Premier Golf League plans swirling in the background and the Saudis flexing their financial muscles, we can only wonder what the future of the global game will look like as cards continue to get shuffled like Boris Johnson’s speech notes.

For the time being, Ramsay is more than happy to be embarking on a 14th consecutive season on the main circuit. In a cut-throat business of formidable strength-in-depth, he is rightly proud of his competitive longevity which has been rewarded by three tour titles down the seasons.

There’s always room for improvement, of course. “2021 was bittersweet,” reflected the Aberdonian of a season which saw him post two top-10s during a year in which his average finish was 49th. “I loved my consistency but sometimes on the tour missing three cuts in a row and then finishing third and eighth is way better than being consistent and finishing 20th to 60th all the time. I want to get in the mix more and be in contention again on a Sunday.

“I just hate losing and that’s one reason why I’ve managed to stay on tour as long. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve hated losing. Sometimes you need a kick up the arse out here and when you are down, adversity gives you great motivation. 

"Can I win again? Yes, but the window of opportunity is smaller than it was when I first came out on tour. That’s to do with the type of courses we play and the influx of guys who hit it so far. But it comes down to belief and fitness and there’s no reason why I can’t get win No 4.”

At 38, Ramsay is hardly ready for retirement just yet but finding that balance between the demands of the touring life and the contentment of family life is something he continues to wrestle with. 

A couple of years ago, he revealed a plan that would possibly see him step back from the tour at the age of 40. It’s still very much part of his thinking.

“I have a few underlying issues with my immune system and Covid has not helped,” he said of the hassles of the last year or so.

“Spending time with my daughter has always been the best thing in the world for me. As you get older, you learn to enjoy the simple things.

“I want to push on until I’m 40. After that, if the motivation is not there and if my game is not competitive, then I can step away. I don’t want to be going to events to make up the numbers.

“When you’re young you dream of holing putts to win tournaments, not to make cuts. For me it’s all in or nothing. There’s no middle ground.”