• Alistair Tait

Winning isn’t the only measure of success


Scotland’s Callum Hill was left frustrated with a third place finish in the Kenya Savannah Classic. Imagine how David Drysdale felt as he placed fifth, a shot behind his young compatriot.


The 25-year-old Hill was playing in just his 30th European Tour event. Drysdale, 46, was making his 519th start on Europe’s elite circuit. They share one thing in common: they are chasing their first European Tour victories.


The play of the two Scots got me thinking about how we measure success. With Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and other marquee players it’s all about winning. Woods said it all the time during his peak, that the only the thing that matter was the W. McIlroy is frustrated because he hasn’t won a tournament since November 2019, and his last major victory came in the 2014 PGA Championship.


Not everyone can be Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, yet we seem to apply the same “how many tournaments have they won?” measurement of success to others as we do to the name players. Hill and Drysdale may not have a European Tour W against their names, but whichever way you cut it they are success stories.


Hill obviously has a long way to go in his career, but his presence among Europe’s elite is a huge achievement. He’s currently 16th on the European Tour Race to Dubai, one spot behind countryman and man of the moment Robert MacIntyre. Hill can no doubt point to some he played against in junior/amateur golf who perhaps appeared better players but have not made it on to Europe’s elite circuit. His 30 appearances are four more than Gordon Sherry made in his European Tour career, and Sherry was touted as a future Scottish superstar.


Amateur excellence doesn’t always equate to professional success, as Sherry discovered. He won the 1995 Amateur Championship, finished fourth in the Scottish Open and turned pro with lucrative endorsements in his back pocket. His story is yet another example of the ephemeral nature of this game.


There has been nothing ephemeral about Drysdale’s career. He may not have notched up that W but 519 European Tour appearances is an accomplishment to be proud of. Drysdale, 52nd on the Race to Dubai, has spent 13 consecutive seasons on the Tour. He’s amassed €5,846,380.26 in official earnings, money he could only have dreamed when he was bunking off school to hone his game at Dunbar Golf Club.


Only 43 others have played more European Tour events than Drysdale. His longevity on a circuit full of long bombers and young studs is a success in my books. If Hill even comes close to that sort of longevity, he will have been a success too. With or without a victory.


Winning isn’t the only measure of success.


#JustSaying: “If you do not raise your eyes, you will think you are at the highest point.” Antonio Porchia

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