Welsh golfer Bradley Dredge says he remains hungry for success as he prepares to start life on the Legends Tour.
Dredge, a two-time European Tour winner, turns 50 in July.
This means he will be eligible to make his Legends Tour debut – for players aged 50 and over – at the Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl, which takes place from July 27-30.
“It’s another chapter in your life, in your golfing career,” Dredge said.
“I’m very lucky as a golfer that you have the opportunity to continue and play in your 50s.
“I still enjoy playing golf, I enjoy training. I’m still trying to improve and I still enjoy the competitive nature.”
Dredge hasn’t competed much lately thanks to a combination of the impact of Covid-19 and his own fitness issues.
The Tredegar-born player’s European Tour – now known as the DP World Tour – won the Madeira Islands Open in 2003 and the European Masters three years later.
A professional since 1996, Dredge represented Great Britain and Ireland at the Seve Trophy in 2005 and 2007, around the same time he was in the top 50 of the world golf rankings.
He continued to be a touring figurehead until the pandemic severely limited his involvement, before a planned return to more regular golf was ruined by a back injury.
Fitness issues meant Dredge had the option of applying for a medical exemption to compete on the DP World Tour this year, but he opted against the idea as his goal is to advance to the Legends Tour.
“I would have only wanted to play a few events at the start of this year, so I didn’t want to take the place of one of the youngest debutants. [on the DP World Tour]”,
“I saw it when I was starting out and it was very difficult to get into events. I don’t want to be one of those guys who takes up space when it’s just a bit of practice for me now.
“I’m not trying to keep my card. My career is no longer on the main circuit. For me, I see my future more on the Legends Tour.”
His debut on what used to be called the European Senior Tour comes with his biggest investment ever, the Open Senior.
This year the tournament returns to Royal Porthcawl for the third time and begins three weeks after Dredge’s 50th birthday.
Dredge says the home advantage will “definitely help” as he looks to compete against a field that is likely to feature many big names.
Darren Clarke is the defending champion after winning at Gleneagles last year when Padraig Harrington – who has just confirmed he will play for Wales – came second.
Bernhard Langer has won four times in the past 13 years – including the previous two Royal Porthcawl editions of the event – with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Fred Couples among other notable names to have triumphed in recent times.
Phil Mickelson and LIV Golf’s Lee Westwood are among the other big names who could feature, but it remains to be seen if that will happen.
“I’m sure you’ll have American guys coming in,” Dredge said.
“Mr Langer I’m sure will make an appearance – he’s amazing.
“Then we have local players in Phil Price and Stephen Dodd. There will be a lot of competition.”
Dredge, whose best Open Championship finish was tied for 27th at St Andrews in 2010, said his expectations wouldn’t be too high for the Senior Open given his recent lack of tournament golf.
Nevertheless, he does not rule out the idea of wrestling.
“The big thing in anyone’s career is having the ability to win events,” Dredge added.
“I’m not Tiger Woods winning maybe a third of the events he’s been in or in, but if I give myself a chance, or if I’m in the mix on the last day going down the back nine, it’s is what’s exciting for someone at my level of play.
“If I had a chance to go into the final day, a whiff of victory, I would take it right away.”