Richie Ram­say’s lat­est col­umn.

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT - RICHIERAMSAY

Af­ter al­most three months off, I’m ex­cited to get go­ing again for the 2019 sea­son at the Abu Dhabi Cham­pi­onship.

The tour­na­ment has been added to the Rolex Se­ries with a ma­jor in­crease in prize money and rank­ing points, so ev­ery golfer in the field will be hop­ing to get off to a strong start.

Tommy Fleet­wood is aim­ing to win the ti­tle for the third year in a row and will start as the man to beat but there is a strong field as­sem­bled, in­clud­ing Brooks Koepka and Dustin John­son.

I have been work­ing hard over the win­ter al­though I picked up a wrist in­jury which cur­tailed the amount of prac­tice I could do, which was frus­trat­ing.

I should be fine to com­pete this week but I have to build up the tol­er­ance in my wrist again. I have been able to do a lot of chip­ping and putting in re­cent weeks, which is good as it is an area I need to im­prove, but it has been dif­fi­cult to do proper test­ing and range work.

I feel I have made some good strides and have iden­ti­fied my main prob­lem through­out the 2018 sea­son, which was my scor­ing around the greens.

As a re­sult of that, my main tar­gets for 2019 are to im­prove my chip­ping around the green and my putting in­side 10 feet.

An­other goal is to stay healthy. If I can do those small things and my game re­mains con­sis­tent from tee to green I feel like do­ing well in the Race to Dubai and com­pet­ing to win a fourth ti­tle are def­i­nitely achiev­able.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see the new rule changes in op­er­a­tion at this week’s event.

I think they will be a good ad­di­tion; any­thing that speeds up the game should be wel­comed.

It feels dif­fer­ent to be drop­ping the ball from knee height and I’m not sure if I will be putting with the pin in too of­ten, apart from for longdis­tance putts.

From shorter ranges I think I will stick to it be­ing out, un­less I am play­ing a bounce game with friends.

Of course the big talk­ing point among the play­ers is the con­fir­ma­tion of Padraig Har­ring­ton as Euro­pean Ry­der Cup cap­tain.

Every­one has been very pos­i­tive about the ap­point­ment.

He has won three ma­jors, in­clud­ing one in Amer­ica, which is im­por­tant.

He is well re­spected in Amer­ica and the Ir­ish have a great fol­low­ing over there which will help gain sup­port for the Euro­peans at Whistling Straits.

The guys who are likely to make the team have a lot of re­spect for him and I’m sure he will be a very good Ry­der Cup cap­tain.

I was out in Dubai last week to work on my game and the Aberdeen team were ac­tu­ally on my flight.

I’m sure they have been en­joy­ing the heat, and hope­fully their warm weather camp will spur them on.

They pos­si­bly didn’t want the win­ter break to come as they were on a nice streak of wins, but hope­fully they can con­tinue that in Jan­uary as they aren’t that far be­hind at the top.

“It will be in­ter­est­ing to see the new rule changes in op­er­a­tion”

STRONG FIELD: Tommy Fleet­wood is aim­ing to win the Abu Dhabi Cham­pi­onship for the third year in a row and will start as the man to beat, but the line-up in­cludes Brooks Koepka and Dustin John­son

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