Relative to the scale of the achievement, David Law’s celebrations after securing his European Tour card were somewhat tame.
The Aberdonian did enough at the Challenge Tour grand final in the UAE last weekend to finish inside the top 15 on the order of merit and secure graduation to the main tour for the first time in his career.
An excuse to let the hair down? Absolutely. But Law resisted.
“I just had a couple of drinks in the hotel bar as I had a flight to catch early the next morning,” he laughs. “I hear the other three lads [Law’s fellow Scottish Challenge Tour graduates, Robert MacIntyre, Grant Forrest and Liam Johnston] all had a good night but it was a bit more low-key for me. Besides, I’m 27 now - I'm the old man of the group!”
That's as maybe yet it seems like no time at all since, as a bespectacled teen, Law was in the midst of a truly immense amateur career.
He did the Scottish Boys’ Amateur Championship and Scottish Amateur Championship double in 2009 and won the latter for a second time two years later. Soon after being contentiously overlooked for a spot on the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team for the match at Royal Aberdeen in 2011, he won the Northern Open, becoming the first amateur to win the prestigious Tartan Tour event in more than 40 years.
Before the year was out, he took the plunge and turned professional.
Since then, it has been a long, circuitous, sometimes tortuous road to get to where he is now, taking in the Pro Golf Tour – a developmental circuit based in Germany – several seasons on the Challenge Tour and entirely too many fruitless trips to Qualifying School.
“It’s only natural that you begin to have some doubts”
Earlier this year, he began to ask himself the question all young tour pros dread: how much longer can I keep doing this?
“I think that it’s only natural you begin to have some doubts,” he admits. “I knew I was good enough to play and be competitive at a higher level but when you keep getting knocks you start to wonder if you’ll ever get the chance.
“It’s not something I really spoke to many people about. I tend to keep my thoughts to myself most of the time but I talked it over with Duncan Stewart and my fiancée Natasha was great, too. It’s not something you really want to think about but there comes a point when you can’t ignore it any longer.”
A few weeks before the Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore this year, Law accepted the offer of some work with one of his sponsors - Gym Rental Co - to tide him over this winter.
“I was quite prepared to do it and, to be honest, I was looking forward to it,” he says. “It was something completely different and it would have helped out a lot if I didn’t get a European Tour card. It’s a long winter when you play on the Challenge Tour. You can go months without playing. So, this was a good opportunity to earn some extra money. Of course, then I went to Aviemore and won.”
It was Law’s 100th start on the tour and his first win. Perhaps more significantly, it catapulted him into the top 15 places on the order of merit and, as it turned out, he never drifted back outside the promotion places.
He finished second in the Euram Bank Open in Austria at the end of July and tied sixth at the Hopps Open de Provence in France two months later.
Two more top 15 finishes in China in the final few weeks of the season gave him one foot on the European Tour going into the season finale. A tie for 25th there completed the job.
Or at least, that part of the job.
“It’s brilliant to get onto the European Tour, it’s something I’ve dreamed about for years,” he says. “But I can’t afford to dwell on it. Now, I’ve got to re-focus and set about making the most of that opportunity because that's all it is - an opportunity. Getting onto the tour is only part one and now it’s done. Staying there, being competitive and winning there is the next stage and so I’ve got to look towards that.”
“When you go through something like, you realise how fragile life is”
Law has always been easy to root for. A modest, down-to-earth guy, he has truly earned his place on the European Tour, never complaining on social media when things don’t go his way nor boasting when they do.
He has also been through a devastating experience off the course, when he and his fiancée Natasha suffered the pain of their son being stillborn in July last year.
“When you go through something like that, you realise how fragile life is," he says. "I’m just so grateful that we got the support we did. It was unbelievable.
“I went back to play two weeks after it happened and, honestly, it was probably six weeks too early. We were both still in a pretty bad way. But I had to play and I knew that the longer I put it off, the harder going back would be.
“That first week, in particular, was horrendous. I didn’t like being on the course and I hated being away from Natasha. It was pretty terrible.
“Fortunately, the guys were great. There were a few who'd avoid you because they didn’t know what to say and they didn’t want to upset you by saying or doing the wrong thing and, honestly, I think I’d probably have been the same before it happened to us, so I completely understand that.
"Equally, you’d get guys who maybe you didn’t know that well who would be brilliant and check in to see how you were getting on and so on. You see people in a whole new light.”
Law admits that what he and Natasha went through has, as you might reasonably expect, changed him in a number of ways.
“Golf isn’t the 'be all and end all' like it was before,” he says. “I’ve got a new perspective about how important it all is in the grand scheme of things. My attitude towards people has probably changed, too. I’ve always thought of myself as a sociable, friendly person but I definitely have a new appreciation for just asking how somebody is. It's a small, simple thing but it can make a huge difference."
With his card secured, Law is now preparing his schedule for the coming season and there’s one week he’s already looking forward to in particular.
“It’ll be great to play in the Scottish Open,” he says. “I’ve played in it three times before but this time it’ll be a bit different being a card-holder. So, that’ll be a great week. But to be honest, there’s nothing I'm not looking forward to. I’ve waited a long time for this opportunity and I’m determined to make the absolute most of it.”