Ferrie looking to kick-start career

Kenneth Ferrie has turned his back on the US and is hoping to kick-start his career on the European Tour at Abu Dhabi this week.

If a pork sandwich had gone down better it might all have been very different for former European Open champion Kenneth Ferrie.
But that is all history now – Ferrie’s American adventure is over for the time being, and Abu Dhabi on Thursday is where he must start the process of rebuilding his career from the depths of 626th on the World Ranking list.
A year ago this week, Ferrie was in Hawaii – and after opening rounds of 66 and 70 in his very first event as a member of the US Tour, he had visions of launching his new life in spectacular fashion.
Then he fell sick.
“I had the sandwich in the hotel and by the time I should have been practising I was curled up in the corner of the locker room,” recalls the Northumberland golfer.
“I tried to hit some balls just before I was due to tee off, but there was no way I could play.”
Instead Ferrie, joint 20th at halfway, spent the afternoon in hospital on a drip. Instead of cashing in big-time – first prize at the Sony Open was nearly a million dollars – he won nothing.
Things looked up again after that. Despite being called into the Buick Invitational only on the morning of the event, Ferrie managed 13th place and took home almost 92,000 US dollars.
But that was as good as it got.
While 288,772 dollars for his year’s work would be rich pickings in many walks of life, Ferrie finished the season only 182nd on the money list – and that meant no place on the circuit this year.
Having decided early on that he would not put himself through the qualifying school again if it came to that, Ferrie packed his bags and returned to the European Tour.
With all the money on offer in the new ‘Race To Dubai’, it can hardly be looked on as a poor relation to the States any more. But Ferrie accepts that his first task is to re-establish himself.
When he shocked the sporting world by sharing the lead with Phil Mickelson after three rounds of the 2006 US Open, Ferrie was just outside the game’s top 100.
On the back of his sixth place at Winged Foot, he made it into The Masters and on to the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Nothing much has gone his way since, though.
“It’s like going back to square one now,” said the 30-year-old.
“It’s baby steps for me at first – and, my ranking being what it is, it’s probably unrealistic to think I can get into the world’s top 50 by the end of the year.
“But as long as I feel I’m a better player when 2009 is over, I’ll take that. Although I’ve had a bad couple of years in terms of results, I don’t feel my game is far away.
“Hand on heart, I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with my swing – but my putting’s not been at the level it was.”
There is certainly cause for optimism. In the penultimate event of the US Tour season, Ferrie was in second place with a round to go.
With his American dream on the line, though, a desperately disappointing closing round of 75 sent him down to 18th spot – and a week later his fate was sealed with a missed cut.
“I enjoyed the year, and everything about the Tour is absolutely amazing. But it definitely did not end up like I thought it would or hoped it would.
“It’s hard, though, when you’re not sure what events you’ll get in because of your ranking and also when you’re going to places for the first time and you don’t know many faces.
“Aside from not knowing where everything is, it’s very rare that you’ll jump on a golf course and everything clicks the first time. It usually helps when you’ve seen the place three or four times.
“But going to America is something I’d wanted to do for a while, and I gave it a full year. I put a lot of effort in, and it nearly worked out.”
From Mark Garrod, PA Sport Golf Correspondent