I’m writing this column on tenterhooks. “I knew you had to be on something,” muttered the sports editor with a withering growl. The reason for my current state of nail-nibbling anticipation is that I’m awaiting the arrival of another son.

The fact this back page has a full complement of words splattered across it, however, means that there was no white smoke yesterday. With the birth imminent, I had visions of getting halfway through this weekly waffle and being interrupted by the kind of howling and wailing you’d hear when a werewolf performs an exorcism with an angle grinder. The general agonising will just have to be reserved for you lot trudging through this.

At least golf always provides us with something to write about. I was going to say it always delivers but, in the circumstances, that would be an eye-rolling segue too far. “It’s never stopped you before,” I hear you chorus. Anyway, in this global game, success by players from the cradle of it should always be celebrated.

READ MORE: Dryburgh big in Japan after life-changing win

Gemma Dryburgh’s maiden win on the LPGA Tour in Japan on Sunday was a terrific achievement and one that saw her become just the fourth Scot to triumph on the toughest stage in the women’s scene. “I’m still on cloud nine,” she said in a message to his correspondent yesterday as I passed on my congratulations. It’s a nice cloud to be on.

Of course, in this pursuit you can be swiftly brought crashing back to earth with the kind of painful dunt that Icarus endured. Dryburgh will savour her success and rightly so. But she certainly won’t be one to rest on the laurels. Professional golf doesn’t allow you to do that.

Since gaining a foothold on the LPGA Tour in 2018, Dryburgh has persevered. There have been seasons with limited status, moments when she felt out of her depth and nerve-jangling trips to the qualifying school but the Aberdonian has demonstrated an admirable spirit that’s as hardy as a clump of granite and all her experiences have stood her in good stead.

HeraldScotland: Gemma Dryburgh after her winGemma Dryburgh after her win (Image: Getty)

When the tenacious Dryburgh got her tour card back after eight gruelling rounds of the q-school last December she said that she was determined to make 2022 her “best year yet.” The Scot has stayed true to her word.

Dryburgh is only 29. At times, though, she must feel like a gnarled veteran when she surveys the scene around her in a women’s game full of confident, youthful and ruthless competitors who seem to be ready to win on tour by the time they come out of nursery.

Attahaya Thitikul, the world No 1 who was left trailing in Dryburgh’s dust at the weekend, is only 19 and has been winning pro events since she was just 14. Lydia Ko, the world No 3, has racked up a phenomenal 18 LPGA Tour wins by the age of 25.

READ MORE: Robertson rewards himself with q-school to avoid what-ifs

When Catriona Matthew was establishing herself in the pro game, the North Berwick great was in her early 30s before she made her breakthrough on the LPGA circuit back in 2001 after a couple of wins on the Ladies European Tour. Matthew’s longevity and level of achievement set a formidable benchmark for the rest of the Scots coming through. At times it must be a daunting burden for those who do score some success, especially when us hysterical lot in the golf scribbling business bang on about so and so and such and such being the “next Catriona Matthew”.

To win at the highest level of golf is a mighty accomplishment in itself and it’s important to appreciate the magnitude of that feat instead of making knee-jerk comparisons here and wild predictions there. Dryburgh has her own path to follow. Where it takes her is in the lap of the golfing gods but, whatever the future holds, she will always be a tour champion. Not every professional golfer gets to say that.


I’ve just been saying how hard it is to win as a professional. So, what about winning 120 times? Bernhard Langer, it’s over to you. “The body starts to ache here and there, it takes its toll,” said the indomitable German. Funnily enough, that’s what this correspondent winced at the prospect of becoming a faither again at 46.

Langer has a been a pro for 50 years but his competitive drouth is unquenchable. Over the weekend, with closing rounds of 63 and 66, he won his 44th event on the Champions Tour at the age of 65 and is now just one win shy of Hale Irwin’s all-time record haul.

HeraldScotland: Bernhard Langer in FloridaBernhard Langer in Florida (Image: Getty)

Langer has been playing on the over-50s circuit since 2007 and has won at least once in each of his 15 seasons among the golden oldies. It's an astonishing run of enduring excellence and one which underlines golf’s age-defying allure.

While we’re waxing lyrical about these stout-hearted auld yins, good luck to the well-kent Swede Jarmo Sandelin this week.

At 55, the former Ryder Cup player has battled through the first two stages of the DP World Tour’s qualifying school and lines-up in the six-round final looking to get his card back. He first visit to q-school was as a raw rookie back in 1987. In this great generation game, Sandelin could provide quite the story.