Monday, February 26, 2007


Ross Drummond, whose most successful season on the European Tour was chronicled in a best-selling golf book, will this week write a new chapter in his own career when he tees up for his first event on the European Seniors Tour at the DGM Barbados Open at Royal Westmoreland.
The $250,000 tournament, the curtain-raiser to the 2007 European Seniors Tour schedule, runs from Wednesday to Friday and will see Spanish former Ryder Cup player José Rivero defend the title he won in a play-off last year.
Alongside Drummond, pictured right, four times Scottish professional champion, in the select field of 48 are two other Seniors Tour debutants, the 1989 European Open winner Andrew Murray and fellow Englishman Tim Rastall, a graduate of the 2006 Qualifying School.
Drummond turned 50 last November and the man who was the subject of Guardian golf correspondent, Lawrence Donegan’s entertaining travelogue, ‘Four Iron in the Soul’, admits to being excited that, even more than a decade later, his literary contribution is still a big talking point.
He admitted: “It’s amazing really, after all those years it still gets mentioned. It’s surprising how many people bring a copy along to a pro-am and ask me to sign it.”
The book followed Drummond during 1996, which coincidentally turned about to be his most successful season as he twice finished runner-up, to Retief Goosen in the Slaley Hall Northumberland Challenge and to Jesper Parnevik in the Trophée Lancôme, en route to 42nd place on that year’s European Tour Order of Merit.
“I suppose, looking back, I didn’t really deserve to win either of them,” recalled Drummond with admirable honesty. “Against Goosen I came from behind on the final day, shooting 65, and Jesper ran away with it in France.”
These are happy memories but when asked to pick a highlight from his European Tour career he chose his longevity. “I was on Tour for 24 years and 20 years consecutively before I lost my card in 1997. Psychologically that was very difficult to come back from. I did win the Qualifying School in 1998 and I thought that was a major step, but I never managed to re-establish myself.”
Now the likeable 6ft 4in Scot from Paisley, who has a Prestwick Driving Range attachment and has played on the Tartan Tour successfully in recent years, has a second chance on the European Seniors Tour and few in the sport would begrudge him if he finally managed to cross the winning line.
The field at Royal Westmoreland includes five winners from 2006 - Gordon J Brand of England, Giuseppe Cali of Italy, Guillermo Encina of Chile, Juan Quiros of Spain and, of course, Rivero, who won this title in a thrilling play-off against England’s David J Russell.
The example of Rivero should prove a source of inspiration for the three debutants, as he captured the title in only his fifth event after turning 50.
And Murray, for one, is no stranger to fairytale victories having overcome the pain of spondylitis – a form of arthritis – to register an emotional triumph at the 1989 European Open, beating New Zealand’s Frank Nobilo by a shot.
This year’s tournament will follow the now established format of a pro-am for the first two days of competition with the European Seniors Tour players taking centre stage on the third and final day.


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