TO PARAPHRASE the lyrics of Hot Chocolate singer Errol Brown, it started with a miss, never thought it would come to this. 

Now, what is this scribe havering on about this time I hear you chorus? Well, let Jamie Gough, the man who has helped Ewen Ferguson become Scotland’s latest tour champion, explain.

“Ewen approached me in Qatar a year ago after he’d missed the cut there and asked if we could start doing some work together,” reflected Gough. “Twelve months on, he’s a winner in the same place.”

Ferguson notched a thrilling maiden win on the DP World Tour at last weekend’s Qatar Masters with a rousing late charge which should’ve been accompanied by mounted cavalry and a bugle call.

An eagle and a birdie over his last three holes propelled the Bearsden youngster to the summit as he became the fourth Scottish 20-something to win on the circuit in the past 18 months. 

For Gough, the part-Scottish, part-Swedish, part-South African swing guru, it was the 24th tour victory by a player in his coaching stable and his second of 2022, after New Zealander Ryan Fox’s success in Ras Al Khaimah last month.

Ferguson’s win, of course, was particularly sweet as it arrived just a few weeks after the 25-year-old had surrendered a four-shot advantage on the final day of the Kenya Open. Throw in a dose of the Coronavirus earlier in the campaign and the tour rookie’s rise to prominence has been far from plain sailing. It’s all part of the education in this school of hard knocks.

“To bounce back from Covid and what happened in Kenya, especially for a rookie on the circuit, has been hugely impressive and he has shown great resilience,” said Gough, the younger brother of former Dundee United, Rangers and Scotland defender Richard.

“The tour is a very tough place. If you have any weaknesses in your game, they get exposed very quickly. People thought Ewen may have been further along with his development than some of the other Scots who won before him. But golfers mature at different times on the tour. He’s only 25. 

"In the time we’ve worked together, he’s become more of a complete player, he understands his swing better, he’s a great driver of the ball and his distance control has improved greatly in the last year. Tour life is a marathon not a sprint. You just have to be patient and focus on getting better at your craft. If you do that, you’ll have a long career.”

Having joined young compatriots, Robert MacIntyre, Grant Forrest and Calum Hill as recent first-time winners at the top table, Gough knows the upwardly mobile Ferguson will not be one to rest on any laurels.

“He won’t be a one hit wonder,” added the 56-year-old, who is in the process of re-locating from South Africa to Pittenweem in Fife. “He’ll be a very good player for a long time. You don’t want to tempt fate but I’d back him to win again this year and get into the top-100 in the world. We sat down and mapped out small goals at the start of the year but, with a win, he’s knocked those out of the park.”

Ferguson’s win arrived in just his 37th start on the DP World Tour. Another of Gough’s clients, the Scottish veteran David Drysdale, has played 552 events and is still chasing that elusive victory. At the end of the 2021 season, Drysdale held on to the final tour card in a nail-nibbling finale so tense it should’ve been nominated for a BAFTA.

“As a coach, it’s always a roller coaster,” added Gough of the wildly fluctuating fortunes that his varied bunch of players experience throughout the golfing year. “You live and die with every shot of every round. The elation you get with one of your boys winning can be tempered by someone else missing the cut. They are my team. You worry about all of them.

“David may not have won yet but keeping his card for 15 years and playing over 500 events is a hell of an achievement in itself. People don’t realise just what an achievement that is because the standard is exceptional. And it keeps getting better.

“I’m sure Ewen and the other young Scottish lads would be delighted if they were still out on tour in 20 years.”

Long may they reign.