Old habits - in Paul Broadhurst's case, very old habits - die hard.

According to personal practice, every time he wins a tournament, he declines to play the following week.

Ten long years may have passed since the win before but, having taken the major prize in the Portuguese Open at Caiscais on Sunday, he will be missing from the starting line-up for the Madeira Island Open tomorrow.

"I like Madeira," he said, "and I usually play quite well there. But in the past, whenever I've won and then played the next week, I've regretted it.

"So I'm going to take this week off and just enjoy what I did in Portugal. In any case, I wouldn't be ready for Madeira. There's nothing left in the tank."

But Broadhurst will play the Spanish Open at San Roque and the Italian Open in Milan this month. The two European Tour events in Beijing and Shanghai which come in between, he will miss.

The travel is too arduous. After Milan, of course, comes the British Masters at the Forest of Arden. Broadhurst threatened to win that last year and, buoyed by his success in Portugal, he has it very much in mind to get even closer from May 12 to 15.

Here is a golfer with his career very much on the rise.

He described his victory over the demanding Oitavos course near Lisbon as weird. In a sense, Barry Lane and Paul Lawrie, by their ruinous mistakes over the last two holes, let him in.

"I'm glad," Broadhurst says, "that I wasn't in the last group."

For he put the pressure on the last two with his birdie on the 17th and, at that moment, regardless of anyone else, Broadhurst was playing to win.

The 18th at Oitavos he describes as one of the world's great finishing holes and, having driven into a bush and taken a penalty drop, he bogeyed it.

"But I knew what was going on behind me," he said. "Once I'd birdied the 17th it was game on and I knew how tough that finish was going to be for Lawrie and Lane."

And Broadhurst prevailed by a shot as the others faltered.

"I've never won like this before," he said. "But I've given a few tournaments away."

Victory came to his own huge relief, to the great delight of his many followers in Warwickshire and to the quiet pleasure of the rest of the European Tour.

For Broadhurst has been through a private hell since the serious injury to his right wrist that he sustained in Dubai in 2000. He lost his card, lost his status and there were times when it seemed that he had lost his career. The rest of the story is about a battle fought and, on last week's evidence, bravely won.

Had he ever despaired to winning again? He couldn't answer that but he could go back 12 months to the face-toface confrontation he had with his mental guru, John Pates.

"We set some goals," he recalls. "We achieved quite a lot last year." What he achieved was the inner conviction that he was still a front rank tournament golfer. His climb to 44th in the Order of Merit was confirmation of that.

Then he and his mentor arrived at a set of new goals.

"Which were to win a tournament," Broadhurst reveals, "to get into the top hundred in the world and to improve my position in the Order of Merit.

I have now achieved one of those objectives and it might now be time for a serious reassessment."

But what has his victory done for him in practical terms?

"It's given me a two-year exemption," Broadhurst says at once. "A few years back, when I was struggling to make cuts, that seemed a very long way off. And it's been very good for my bank balance."

Now, when he and Pates get around to reassessing future targets, might an appearance in the next Ryder Cup come into their thoughts.

Very nervously into Broadhurst's.

"What," he asks, "as a caddie?"

We chuckled at that one and we were still chuckling when Broadhurst told of the message he has just sent Ian Woosnam in Augusta.

"Keep me in mind for next year," he said to Europe's new captain. Good joke that. Or what?