In this week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ewen Ferguson talks about being inspired by Richie Ramsay, no longer being under the radar since his maiden Tour victory, memories from his amateur days and his passion for Rangers.
The resurgence in Scottish golf over the last few years is brilliant. Grant Forrest and Calum Hill both won their maiden Tour titles last season and Bob MacIntyre won the year before. After watching Richie win on Sunday evening, I couldn’t wait to get to St Andrews to prep because I felt inspired by his performance, and seeing Grant finish in the top three as well. I am sure it would have been the same for the other Scots when I won my title in Qatar. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a Scot do well this week at the Hero Open in front of home crowds because we will all be galvanised by Richie’s win and aiming to emulate him. Long may the success the Scottish boys are enjoying continue.
Fairmont St Andrews is a course I know well. If I manage to bring my A-game then it is certainly one that can suit me. I finished 16th when the Scottish Championship presented by AXA was held there in October 2020 as the final leg of a UK swing. I’ve also got experience of playing there in Final Qualifying for The Open Championship in 2019.
This will be the second time I am playing in Scotland this month. The Genesis Scottish Open was a brilliant experience. Playing in front of home crowds is always special but the tournament was the first co-sanctioned event between the DP World Tour and the PGA TOUR, so the crowds felt particularly big all week. That is something I am still getting used to, but it’s all part of the process of playing week-in week-out on Tour. I am hoping to put together a performance this week that makes the Scottish fans proud.
The main difference I have felt since my victory in Qatar is that I am no longer come into tournaments under the radar. I started the season off very well and I am now doing everything in my power for that form to return. I definitely feel that I am on the right track, though.
With this being my rookie season on the DP World Tour, I’m really trying to soak in as much knowledge about the courses ahead of every tournament getting under way. I’m beginning to know more about my game at this level as the weeks go by and how it matches up to the different challenges we face. But I am happy with where my game is at, ready to clean up some of the areas that need to be improved and then play at the level I know I can.
It only takes a couple of elements of your game not to be firing on all cylinders to miss the cut. That proved the case in the Cazoo Classic at Hillside last week. Golf is such a non-stop sport that it is beneficial to have spent the weekend catching up with family and friends however. But I put in some practice too and I’m ready to get going again!
When I was 14, 15, I started playing all the under-16 international events all around Europe. It’s funny you still play against these guys today. I’ve always had golf in the back of my mind, so I’ve always wanted to be a golfer. It’s always been the only thing I’ve tried to focus on doing, win out here on Tour and be good out here. It’s starting to come true. Also, some of my friends got out here a little bit quicker than me. It inspired me to keep trying to get better and motivated me to figure out what I need to do here to make this next step. I knew if I just stepped up every part of my game a little bit, I might make the move out onto the DP World Tour. I have managed to do that and I’m back out with my friends and playing against them, which is nice.
My amateur career undoubtedly played a massive role in shaping my progress as a golfer since I turned professional in 2016. Winning the Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Liverpool in 2013 is a memory I will never forget. Later that summer, I went on to win the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championships and Match Play Championship, becoming the only player ever to hold all three titles simultaneously. I learnt so much early on about the pressure of playing in front of big crowds, including when I was a part of the winning Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2015. Those experiences of playing with and against all the leading amateur players installed great belief that I could make a successful transition to the paid ranks. I still reflect a lot on my amateur days with great fondness.
I was so close so often to my debut professional win on the Challenge Tour last season that I kept pushing and I just couldn’t make it happen. It was tough for me but once I knew I had my full Tour card I had realised my main objective of progressing to the DP World Tour was realised. At the start of the year, I set out with the ambition to put myself in contention and to claim a victory. I got very close in Kenya but blew it away slightly. However, I still took lots of confidence from the fact that I was leading by four shots going into the final round. I only had to wait a few more weeks to get over the line in Qatar. It felt incredibly sweet, but I’m ready to kick on and accomplish more.
Once I got my maiden Tour win, ensuring I accumulated enough points to be among the top 50 players on the DP World Tour Rankings was a key objective for the remainder of the season. There is still a long way to go until then, but I’m currently 37th in the rankings and I’m looking to put together some strong performances between now and then to nail that down. To do so in my rookie season would be a good achievement. I feel that I can get there if I keep progressing with my game as I am doing.
I started to work with my coach Jamie Gough at last year’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, exactly a year before I won my first Tour title at the very same event. I was struggling with my game at the time, missed the cut and decided to stay the weekend to work on my game. He had his own players, but we met up later that day on the Saturday. He quickly identified a couple of swing issues, implemented them quickly and I saw progress. Even with the win in Qatar, we both know there is still work to be made in my game and I’m excited for that with Jamie’s guidance. To be able to call upon someone who has worked with some of the top players over the years, including José María Olazábal and Miguel Ángel Jiménez, to have the backing of a coach with that level of knowledge is invaluable.
Some players make an immediate transition from the Challenge Tour to the DP World Tour, but I benefited from my time on the Challenge Tour. I learned how to shoot low scores on a consistent basis, and I matured as a person both on and off the course with travelling to events around the world. It can feel relentless but once I got to a stage where I could deal with the pressures of the Challenge Tour and finish in the top 20 on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, I believed I would be able to cope with the step up.
I’m a big Rangers fan and it’s great to have a passion away from golf. I went to watch their pre-season friendly against Tottenham at Ibrox on Saturday. I have started to become quite friendly with some of the players and that has only increased my desire to see them do well.