Drysdale secures Tour card with help of Duns physio

David Drysdale secured his European Tour Card at the weekend.
David Drysdale secured his European Tour Card at the weekend.

Pease Bay is a well-known surfers’ paradise but did you know it’s also good for golfers needing a miracle cure from injury as they fight for survival on the European Tour?

Less than a fortnight ago, Cockburnspath’s David Drysdale tore his right calf muscle climbing out of a bunker during the third round of the Italian Open at Monza. He needed a wheelchair at two airports on his way home, was still on crutches last Friday and hadn’t hit a golf ball for ten days before Tuesday.

Sitting 121st in the Race to Dubai, Drysdale was ten places and £15,000 short of survival on the European Tour, the one-time perennial Qualifying School parishioner not having been back there since 2008. “The timing was awful,” he said of seeing a welcome upturn in fortunes halted in its tracks.

In the circumstances, it was a Lazarus-like recovery as the 40-year-old finished in joint ninth place in the weekend’s £3.3 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, handing all the credit for his impressive effort to one of Scotland’s leading physiotherapists, Berwickshire’s very own Stuart Barton.

“It’s been incredible as the injury was horrific at the time,” said Drysdale. “I’ve never had special assistance through an airport before, but I got it at Milan and Heathrow in my wheelchair. There was a three-centimetre tear on the calf muscle and a 15-centimetre swelling. When I saw Stuart on the Sunday after getting home from Italy, he said that if I was an athlete – which I’m clearly not – it would be six to eight weeks out.”

Even for golfing purposes, a return as early as this event looked a long shot, but Drysdale won his race against the clock thanks to daily treatment from former Duns rugby player Barton, who was the Scottish rugby team’s physio for 12 years, attending three World Cups, as well as twice daily dips into the North Sea near his Cockburnspath home.

“How Stuart has treated me has been amazing as I was still on crutches last Friday,” added Drysdale. “I’ve been seeing him every day, had acupuncture as well and have also been in the North Sea twice a day at Pease Bay walking about like a right idiot with a jacket, woolly hat and a pair of shorts on. There were kids on surfing courses and they must have thought I was a bit weird walking up and down. But the resistance and cold has done it the world of good.

“I was doing step-ups on to a table about three and a half feet high on Monday night and, having been able to do, Stuart told me I wouldn’t do any more damage to it and just had to trust it. The first few balls I hit on Tuesday were a bit scary but after that things were fine.”

A closing 68 on Sunday for a 14-under-par total of 274 earned Drysdale a £61,215 pay-day, securing his card for next season in the process.