In the here, there and everywhere birl that’s par for the course for a touring golfer, you tend to chalk off more places on the globe than Alan Whicker. There’s always a new experience to savour, though. “It’s my first time competing in Vietnam” said David Drysdale of his latest stop as a card holder on the Asian Tour. “That’s one more off the list.”

This step into the unknown is not just reserved for Drysdale, however. The Asian Tour itself will break new ground in August after officials announced this week that it will stage an event in the cradle of the game in St Andrews. The golfing circus in the modern age has always gone beyond its boundaries. In the current climate of divisions and tensions, though, a circuit muscling in on another territory could just about lead to the military being mobilised.

The summer showpiece at the Fairmont resort just outside the auld grey toun will be part of the Asian circuit’s international series. That, of course, throws up the intriguing possibility of a number of LIV Golf rebels competing on Scottish turf as they root around for the world ranking points denied to them by their ostracisation from the established tours.

The Asian Tour, which was decimated by the onset of the Covid pandemic, has been galvanised by a tie-in with LIV and the millions that the Saudi-backed series has invested in it. Back in more tranquil times on the global stage, the DP World Tour and the Asian Tour enjoyed a harmonious alliance. Nowadays, it’s about as cordial as the relationship between Harry, Meghan and The Royals.

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Drysdale, a sturdy stalwart of the DP World Tour, lost his status at the end of 2022 having held a card for over 20 years. He was left with no ranking at all for the European circuit but earned a spot on the Asian Tour at the qualifying school. So far, polite requests for one or two invitations to some DP World Tour events have fallen on deaf ears.

“Golf doesn’t owe me anything but I thought my career deserved at least a couple of invitations,” said the 48-year-old as he tries to flesh out his playing schedule. “I’ve not heard anything. Maybe I’m struggling now that I’m an Asian Tour member?”

In the “them and us” parrying and jousting that’s currently going on in the game’s upper reaches, you can understand Drysdale’s scepticism.

As for the wider stooshies that continue to envelop the men’s scene? “I don’t know where it all goes from here,” added the Scot. “You have three LIV golfers (Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed) finishing in the top-four of the Masters. Koepka was ranked 118th going into it and was leading with a round to go. It all makes the world rankings look like a shambles. There has to be a massive shake up. But I wouldn’t like to be the person left scratching their head trying to sort it out.”


Away from these golfing guddles, Drysdale is enjoying the latest chapter in his long career. The latest twist in the Asian Tour schedule, meanwhile, has provided plenty of cheer.

“From a personal point of view, it’s fantastic,” said Berwickshire-based Drysdale. “The week before the St Andrews event, there’s an international series tournament at Close House near Newcastle. I’ve been bouncing around the Far East for the last five months. In August there will be two Asian Tour events within a 90-minute drive of my house. It’s all a bit weird and probably sums up the current climate in golf.

“Listen, the guys on the Asian Tour didn’t earn a cent for two years because of Covid. They were hammered in the Far East. Along comes LIV and the Saudis and invest millions into it. The Asian Tour wasn’t in a position to turn that kind of money down.”

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After a frustrating, injury-blighted 2022, the pleasant climes of Asia has provided a professional sanctuary and a physical tonic. “The heat out here has been great for my body and I’ve not felt the neck injury at all,” said Drysdale, who posted a top-10 finish in Hong Kong recently. “It’s been a great new adventure. You never know, maybe I could get a first ever tour win on the Asian Tour in Scotland? That would be strange.”

These are strange golfing times.