Anxious to continue playing as he has only one eye on the senior circuit, a return to the Challenge Tour, where he won twice early in his professional career, is an option but, as things stand today, things, Drysdale no longer has any position as far as playing on the main tour is concerned.
“I didn’t really know, to be honest, so it was a bit of a shock,” he said. Scotland Sunday after returning home overlooking Pease Bay on the Berwickshire coast earlier this week at the end of a grueling and, ultimately, deflating campaign. “I basically have a full exemption on the Challenge Tour next year, but I don’t have any categories for the main round, which is a little weird.
“For 21 seasons I’ve had a category that’s gotten me a minimum of 15 starts every year and I’ve been totally exempt for 18 seasons in the last 21. It’s a bit raw right now, but it comes every year. It’s not a shock that it happened.
“I don’t really know what I’m going to do, to be honest. I have no idea at the moment. Obviously, the only possibility to play on the main tour would be to get invites. That’s an option I hope, and I actually emailed (DP World Tour CEO, Keith Pelley) this week. Hopefully I can sneak in for a few invites, which would be nice.
Drysdale had its best season in 2009, racking up six top-ten finishes to finish 48th in the standings. He finished 56th as recently as 2017 before losing excruciatingly in a play-off just as he was on the verge of securing an elusive maiden victory at the 2020 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
However, it was a struggle before he got the final card on last year’s points list and, hampered by a neck and shoulder injury, the writing may have been on the wall , though he fought valiantly to the end.
“I’ve played 15 of the last 16 weeks and just got out of breath I think,” he added. “Ach, it’s been a strange year. I was slightly injured at the Porsche European Open in early June and never really had a chance to do myself justice, although I wasn’t hurt enough to miss all those weeks.
“Then in my last five weeks of golf there was some decent stuff. There’s a glimmer of stuff there that makes you think “I can stick with it and still compete.” I was fine for a few days in Madrid, did well in Portugal, then had a few good days last week (when he started with two 67s in the second leg of Q-School before disappearing) .
“But, to finish 158th in the order of merit, means I have no status on the DP World Tour next year. Over the past two years with the Covid situation and with so many categories, there’s definitely guys who finished outside of that who still have their cards in. But those were obviously Covid rules with safety nets in place.
“Listen, it’s been a bad season and I gave myself half a chance in Portugal. It was a shame because I had to finish eighth there to avoid stage two and finished tied for eighth. place, but it’s over an entire year, so there’s no need to go back over this event.
“Last week was just weird. I was totally in control for two days on stage two and then, I don’t know, I just didn’t have it over the weekend. I didn’t I didn’t have anything. I think I was too tired, running out of energy and making mistake after mistake.
The 2022 DP World Tour campaign concludes with next week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai before the new campaign begins almost immediately, with events in South Africa and Australia on the schedule before the end of the year.
“I’m going to write a few sponsors and a few promoters and see if I can maybe get a few invites at the start of the season,” said Drysdale, who cut his teeth as a professional assistant at Dunbar and is now attached to Eyemouth. “We have South Africa coming shortly and we’ll see what help I can get throughout the tour.
“As for the Challenge Tour, I know they will have a decent schedule at the start of next season in South Africa and I think that will mirror what has happened this year with a number of events co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour.
“It’s an option, however, at my age it’s not a fantastic option. I’ve spent enough time on the main tour to make it clear to me that playing with these youngsters on the Challenge Tour is not very attractive. No, it’s not like it’s not attractive. But playing with these young people who are hitting miles on golf courses that won’t be particularly difficult, it will be difficult to compete with them. But it there will be events that suit my game, so I might pick a few to play.
With Stephen Gallacher, Drysdale has his eye on his 50s. He will be fully exempted for the Legends Tour in Europe, but also plans to try and qualify for the US-based Champions Tour. “The plan was always to play until maybe 55,” he said. “I want to play golf for the next two years and have a bit of luck with some seniors for a few seasons. Paul Lawrie’s tour of Scotland is looking very good next year so there will always be somewhere to play but obviously I would like to play at the highest level possible as I have for so many years .
“That was the plan, but there are a lot of guys in my position who find themselves in no man’s land, really, for a few years. You want to stay competitive. Look at Thongchai Jaidee and Robert Karlsson. They’re two great examples of people who have spent two or three years here without being particularly competitive, but who have passed the Q-School Champions Tour, which is obviously very difficult, but who have done well.
“The key is to stay in shape and keep your game in some kind of shape, but for me now it’s a matter of ‘where can I play, what can I do in the next two years and is I want to do it? ”
Deep down, he knows it. “I’ve been doing this all my life, so what else am I going to do?” he said when pointed out that there was no hint of his pessimistic tone when he clearly felt more disappointed than at any stage in his career. “It’s not like I’m qualified in another line of business. I have played golf for a living basically since 1995/1996. That’s all I know what to do and how to do.
“Listen, I’m not going to lie. At my age, it’s not easy. But I still want to play and I still think I can go on this main tour. But the hardest thing now is that I no longer have a category. In the situation I find myself in, I don’t even think I can participate in a golf tournament (DP World Tour).