Two years ago Macclesfield’s Jamie Donaldson’s world turned upside-down when he hit the shot that won Europe the Ryder Cup.
And though life back on the course has proved largely to be an uphill struggle since the hysteria of his moment of glory at Gleneagles, Nick Dougherty has warned against ruling Donaldson out of a place in captain Darren Clarke’s team this autumn.
Donaldson has enjoyed a solitary win since the 2014 Ryder Cup – December’s Thailand Golf Championship – but missed the cut in six events and has fallen from the world’s top 25 to outside the top 60.
Summing up his rotten luck, Donaldson injured his hand while using a chainsaw in January delaying his start to his season.
But Sky Sports pundit Dougherty believes it would be premature to think Donaldson will not be at Hazeltine National come September.
“Jamie’s going to have to play some really good golf from here to make the Ryder Cup team, as he’s a long way outside it now,” said Dougherty, a formerly ranked among the world’s top 50.
“The win in Thailand was a big one for him at the back end of last year, and the accident with the chainsaw was a bit of a freak – it’s one of those things that happens.
“He just hasn’t been quite the same the last couple of years. The thing for Jamie is that because he was the man at the last Ryder Cup who won the final point, the euphoria of it is difficult.
“It must be such a comedown after it. I’ve never experienced that; I’ve won tournaments but to get the winning point at the Ryder Cup I’d imagine is right up there, and I’ve spoken to players who have said there is a comedown after something like that.
“But there is still time for him to make the team, although it is going to be tough.
“If he gets himself into some form he could be someone that Clarke turns to because of his experience.”
Dougherty was speaking at last month’s SSE Women’s Invitational at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club, a ground-breaking business event that put gender parity and breaking down barriers at the forefront.
Over 100 female business professionals were in attendance – some learning to play golf for the very first time – and taking in fascinating panel discussions with the likes of tennis coach Judy Murray and a host of rising sports stars from the SSE Next Generation programme.
And Dougherty was certain all the participants would reap the benefits both on and off the course.
He said: “There are boundaries that do still exist unfortunately in golf.
“It’s great to be at an event where all the women are networking. Some of them have played golf before but a lot of them haven’t, so that is very inspiring to see them picking up a club for the first time and getting bitten by the golf bug.
“Something I see quite a lot playing in Pro-Ams is that the golf course is a great place to do business as a client can’t escape you for four hours out there.
“There’s no reason that should be exclusive to men, so I think to see the ladies going out and gaining the confidence to be in that environment at events like this is great to be a part of.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen