Richie Ramsay’s thoughts about potentially quitting tournament golf will not be swayed one way or the other by the heartbreak of The Belfry at the weekend.
The three-time tour winner saw at the very least a play-off for the Betfred British Masters vanish when he dunked his approach shot at the 18th into the water. He described it as “the biggest kick in the teeth” he’d had in his 25-year career in golf.
And the agony feel more acute now, with the knowledge that he probably won’t have as many chances as he mulls his future.
‘I don’t have many holes left to make up for it’
— P&J Sport (@PandJSport) May 8, 2022
“The mindset you always have is that if you make a bogey on the first hole, you’ve got 17 holes to make up for it,” he said. “I’m at whatever hole it is in my career, definitely the back nine, and I don’t have all that many holes left to make up for it.
“Because this was in Britain, it hurts more. I’ve done well in the British Masters previously and I did all the right things on this occasion – I just didn’t execute that last shot.
“I didn’t sleep a wink last night, and I can sleep with the best of them! Maybe when things calm down, I might look at things differently.
Ramsay has already been thinking about his future. Devoted to wife Angela and daughter Olivia, he wants to spend more time with them and less travelling the circuit. He’s given himself two years – until he reaches 40 – to work it out in his head.
“I still don’t know for sure,” he said. “It depends on three things for me and some other outside factors.
“It depends on whether I’m competitive because I ain’t playing when I’m not competitive. That’s just not right, I don’t think, and that would tear me up more.
“My body has to be in the right shape. And whatever I do, I have to be 100 per cent mentally into it.
‘I just want the option’
Massive respect to Richie Ramsay for signing autographs
after the heartbreak of his finish.
Top man, Richie, that is quality – hopefully a win just around the corner 👍
— Ken Paveley (@KenPaveley) May 8, 2022
“There’s a couple of other things outside that are reasons why I may stop – if my family is fine with it and they’re taken care of.
“I just want the option. I remember listening to the footballer Owen Hargreaves and he said that he’d moved to Manchester United and played X number of games and then suddenly it was all over.
“On the other hand, his team mate Paul Scholes was with him and said, ‘yeah, I chose when to quit’. I want to do the same.”
Sunday’s crushing disappointment hasn’t changed his view.
“I thought a little bit about Olivia coming down the last because I wanted to win for her,” he said. “But I put that out of my mind and it didn’t affect the shot.
“The whole week shows I can still do it. It shows that I can be right there and it gives me pride of what I’ve accomplished and I hit a lot of good shots under pressure. Unfortunately I just didn’t do that with the last shot.
“After a perfect drive, I was in a really good mindset and felt good about it – I just didn’t execute the shot and that was disappointing.
“But I don’t think it really changes my plans.”
‘There’s a lot to take from that’
For the next two seasons at least, though, Ramsay will be battling for that fourth win. The showing at the Belfry suggests he’s playing as well as ever.
“My chipping was good this week – I’d say that was the biggest difference,” he said. “I drive it well pretty much every week. My irons are always solid and mentally I’m normally quite good.
“You just need to hole a few putts and get it up and down to keep momentum. It probably suits me better on a course like this as it’s tough.
“I was matching the best score of the day going down the last, so there‘s a lot to take from that. But it’s still a bit misty at the moment.
“There’s some light out there, but I can’t see it at the moment. It’s not hit me yet. It will in a bit and I won’t be in a good place.”