x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The Scots are starting to reclaim their game

The names from the 'Home of Golf' are on the rise in the world rankings, with players in form and young players coming through.

Paul Lawrie has climbed to 45th in the world rankings, helped by his win at the Qatar Masters.
Paul Lawrie has climbed to 45th in the world rankings, helped by his win at the Qatar Masters.

In the six tournaments on the European Tour this year, only Abu Dhabi is missing a top-10 finish by a Scot. That is a far cry from last year, when only David Drysdale and Steven O'Hara had vague sniffs at success in the early stretches of the Race to Dubai.

You have to go back to the Sandy Lyle/Sam Torrance era to see such a rich vein of names from the "Home of Golf" in the top 10 of tournament leaderboards. Yes, Colin Montgomerie won seven consecutive Order of Merit titles in the 1990s, but he ploughed a very lone furrow, while countries such as the United States, England, South Africa and Ireland churned out multiple tournament and major winners.

But this year, the Scots are on the rise: Paul Lawrie (first in Qatar Masters, 10th in Volvo Champions); Stephen Gallacher (second in Dubai); Alistair Forsyth (fifth in Africa Open); Marc Warren (third in Joburg Open); and George Murray (ninth in Joburg Open).

With Lawrie rolling back the years and rolling in gargantuan putts; with Warren, Gallacher and Forsyth flirting at titles - granted with a sometimes weakened line-up as the top-ranked players take a rest - a brighter future looks on the scorecards for Scottish golf.

With the histories of the Tom Morrises, old and young, plus the Old Course at St Andrews being the origin of the game, and with young pretenders such as Richie Ramsey waiting in the wings, maybe now Scotland can again figure among the big boys.

msmith@thenational.ae