Smyth struggling on Champions

By Brian Keogh

Struggling Des Smyth is facing a massive battle to stay aboard the Champions Tour gravy train.

But the former Ryder Cup vice-captain admits that he will happily return to Europe if he fails to keep his playing privileges in the US.

After banking $3.75 million on the US seniors circuit in just four and half seasons, Smyth is in no hurry to return home.

But he knows that he could be back sooner than he wants if he finishes the season outside the top 30 money winners.

Currently 36th with $229,126 from 12 starts, Smyth said: "I am playing very badly, very badly. It is a bit of a worry because my form is particularly bad.

"All I can do is work on it. I am trying lots of things and I work off my own notes. Experiment with things.

"But I am just not settling on the golf course. I am playing bad golf and I have lost confidence."

While he has won twice on the Champions Tour, Smyth is without a win in the US since April 2005.

And he has no desire to return to the Q-School he won in 2003 after the format was changed last year.

Q-School graduates now have to Monday qualify and Smyth has no desire to put himself through that torment if the same system is in place next year.

He said: "You can't get too down on yourself. And the way I look at it, the last two years on the main tour were great and my first four years on the Champions Tour have been great.

"I have played well for six years but the last six months I have played really bad. I have just lost form.

"I have no pans to see anybody and I am trying to work it out, as I always do, on my own. But I do need help.

"I want to stay in the US as long as I can. But I am in the precarious position that if I slip outside the top 30, you are really talking about going back to the school. And they have changed the school since I started.

"There is talk that it might change back again because what they have done hasn't worked. But you could find yourself slipping through the net quite easily.

"I'd be quite happy to play in Europe, if it comes to that I'd look forward to it. Europe is where I'd like to play. But if I can still do it over there, I think I should."

Smyth will play his first European Seniors Tour event of the year outside the senior majors when he tees it up in next week's £500,000 Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open.

After that he will return to the US to play four in a row and hopefully earn enough cash to secure another lucrative season on the Champions Tour.