GOLF, as somebody once observed while thrashing wildly at a dimpled ba’, can best be described as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle. It’s a bit like this correspondent’s back catalogue of articles and columns to be honest.

As for David Drysdale? Well, in order to hold on to his DP World Tour card, the Scot needs to conjure something out of the realms of the miraculous. “I’m forever optimistic,” he said with a wry chuckle ahead of the final regular event on the main circuit in Portugal this week.

Having held some form of status for the old European Tour for 21 years – he’s been a full card holder for the last 18 in a row - Drysdale is on the cusp of losing those playing rights. Languishing down in 178th place on the rankings, with the top 117 retaining their places, Drysdale is needing to produce the kind of giant leap that Evel Knievel attempted over the Snake River Canyon in order to vault into the safety zone.

After 573 tour events, a maiden victory in this time of desperate need would be the stuff of fairy tales. Drysdale, of course, is a realist. His main goal is to try to earn a first top-10 of an injury-blighted year which would at least give him a chance of bypassing stage two of the qualifying school and proceed straight to the six-round final.

“You never know what’s going to happen day to day in this game,” said Drysdale, whose best finish of the current campaign was a share of 23rd in the very first event of the new season at the Joburg Open. “But I’ve had a poor year. It’s been a shocker but I’ll not cry about it. Right now, I’m going to stage two of the qualifying school next week. If I can avoid that, then great, but I’m already gearing up for it. Let’s face it, I need an unbelievable week to keep my card. If I have to go to qualifying school then that’s it. I’ve been plenty of times before and know how to grind it out.”

Drysdale has been one of the great grinders on the tour for years. With four seconds, five thirds and 28 other top-10s down the seasons, the 47-year-old’s quiet, spirited, enduring endeavours have led to career earnings of over £5 million and plenty of admiration for his competitive longevity.

Gaining a foothold on the tour is hard enough. Staying on it for two decades is worthy of acclaim but Drysdale is not one for consoling plaudits. “This is what I do for a living and I want to keep it going,” said this sturdy mainstay. “I suppose when I finally hang up the spikes and look back, I’ll be proud of the fact I was out here for so long. But I’m not ready for that yet. I want to keep going for another couple of years, get to 50 and then try the seniors. I’d like to leave the main tour on my own terms.”

Drysdale’s fellow Scottish veteran, Stephen Gallacher, is also mired in peril and, at 170th on the rankings, is also facing a return to the dreaded qualifying school. Between them, they have racked up 1197 tour events. Drysdale is keen to keep that tally ticking upwards. Despite the toil and trouble of a frustrating season, the two-time Challenge Tour winner’s enthusiasm for a game that has been his life is unwavering.

“You have to keep the morale up in this game or you’d just chuck it,” said Drysdale, who held on to his tour card by the skin of his teeth in 2021 as the last man in. “I still enjoy the practice and the grind and the drive to keep improving is still there. The last couple of years, with Covid, has been a bit of a hassle on the travel front but compared to what some people went through in the pandemic, it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t know what I’d do without touring golf. I’ve not given it much thought. If this was to be the end then I would miss it, without a doubt. But I’m not thinking like that. My mind is still focussed on playing golf out here.”

And you never know. Sometimes, miracles do happen.