Smyth ready to fight Champions burnout

By Brian Keogh

Des Smyth used the fear factor to keep his Champions Tour card last year.

But despite the burnout out factor of five seasons of transatlantic travel, he believes his determination to win again will keep him going in 2008.

Just a month before he makes his seasonal debut in Florida, Smyth confessed: "I am starting to get tired now. I said when I went over to America that I would go for three or four years. But I am now going back for year six!

"My desire is still strong but I wouldn't be disappointed if I came back to play on the European Seniors Tour. It is something I am looking forward to doing at some stage.

"I am on a win-win as far as I can see. If I play well and succeed in America again this year, I will be very happy.

"And if I don't I will be very happy because it is my passport back to the European Tour, where I started and where I would like to play."

Smyth once jokingly described the Champions Tour - where he has earned over $4 million since 2003 - as the greatest mulligan in golf.

But the huge retirement package he is building up is only part of the story.

He said: "While I can compete in America, I have to do it. The rewards are fantastic.

"But I love the competition and there is nothing like a win. I know that last year was a bit of a struggle but it's a new year and I know myself that if I want to step up again it is all about winning a golf tournament.

"Last year I finished 30th on the money list to keep my card and I think it was the old fear factor that helped me play well over the last few months,

"The fear of losing my card has been a great driving force for me over the years.

"It is the one consolation. Once you have kept your card on the main tour or the Champions Tour, you know that if you can step it up the following year you are right back in there."