Damien McGrane toyed with the idea of trekking in the foothills of Mount Everest next year.
But the grinding Kells man, who turns 40 in April, just can’t find the time as he’s set his sights on reaching the summit of golf again by adding to his lone European Tour victory in 2011.
The Meath man has made a whopping €3.73m on the European Tour with over €782,000 ending up in his bank account this term as he finished a career best 29th in the Race to Dubai standings .
He roared to a nine-shot win in the Volvo China Open in 2008, but he’s still waiting for win number two.
And that’s why he looks to US Open champion and multiple winner Graeme McDowell as the perfect role model for someone who wants to be remembered as more than just another journeyman.
Fully aware of what he has to do, McGrane said: “I am not looking for the secret. The simple fact is that you have to hole the putts and hit the shots. And you have to do it from the first green to the final green.
“That is what Graeme McDowell has done so well this year. You can get the rub of the green or the bounce of the ball and all of a sudden you win a tournament. But Graeme has done it more than once.
“He is like a shark. When he sinks his teeth into a chance, he won’t let go. You are born with a lot of that ability but you can work on the mental side of the game and try and convince yourself that you can do it.”
McGrane knows that he needs to show some of McDowell’s killer instinct if he is to enter the winner’s circle again.
And while he can look back on 2010 and pat himself on the back for his six top-10 finishes and earnings of close to €800,000, another winless season has left him feeling empty inside.
Reflecting, he said: “Missed opportunities. That’s how I’ll sum up this year. I had chances to win once or twice and I didn’t. There is no other way of looking at it.
“Am I a better player than I was last year? I don’t know. I can’t start bullshitting and categorising things by saying this is better and that’s better.
“People say I’ve a good year and that’s fair enough. I have had a good year compared to what is going on with the economy in Ireland. But if I haven’t won a tournament or two, what does that really mean?
“I am out there trying to win. You just have to get in position and close it out and I had many opportunities to do that again this year and didn’t do it.”
McGrane’s best chance came in the Valderrama Masters in October but after holing a bunker shot at the 15th in the final round to take the lead, he dropped four shots over the last three holes and finished tied for second behind McDowell.
Brushing off his Valderrama drama, he said: “Valderrama’s a tough course and it just bit me in the arse. I got some great fortune and bang, the luck ran out. I holed a bunker shot and started to think I could do no wrong.
“Then all of a sudden I went double bogey, bogey, bogey and ended up tied for second. And I was lucky to tie for second.”
Turning those near misses into wins is McGrane’s big goal for 2011 and he knows that all he can do it put himself in position as often as possible and hope the law of averages does the rest.
He said: “In our business, come Monday morning it is a new week and a new set up and you start all over again. You don’t have time to dwell on what could have been.
“I want to win golf tournaments and as soon as I am in a position to win, I want to try and make the most out of that situation.
“If you have three opportunities a year, it is hard to win once. But if I have seven opportunities a year to win a tournament, I’d like to think I could win one or two with the right bounce of the ball or the rub of the green.
“I have been giving myself the opportunities but I am just not closing it out and haven’t done so for two years.”
Everest can wait. McGrane has a mountain of his own to climb and he’s determined to prove that he’s not afraid of heights.