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Paul Lawrie is always doing something. In fact, the native of Aberdeen, Scotland has his fingers in so many pies, those digits are probably covered in a permanent coating of suet crust.
“I’d rather have that than sitting about doing nothing,” said the 53-year-old of the abundant activities that engage, energize and excite him.
Management, mentoring, event hosting, tournament organizing? You name it, Lawrie does it. He still finds time to play himself too.
While he is very much committed to competition on the golden oldies scene these days, the opportunity to join the world’s best in the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews this July couldn’t be missed.
Lawrie, who gave last year’s Open at Sandwich a wide berth, is certainly not one to settle for being some kind of ceremonial golfer. His decision, for instance, to step back from the European Tour (now known as the DP World Tour) was based on the cold, hard reality that he wasn’t competitive enough.
The Old Course, and the craft and nous required for the links game, can be a great leveler, though.
“I’ll be at The Open,” said the 1999 Claret Jug winner with relish.
Paul Lawrie of Scotland in action during the pro-am event prior to the NBO Oman Golf Classic on February 14, 2018, in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
“Some of the venues, with the length they are, there’s just no way I can get it round anymore. I’m not decrepit or totally gone, but on the Old Course I can scuttle it a bit more. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
The last time The Open was played in the cradle of the game, in 2015, Lawrie and his fellow Scot Marc Warren were right in the thick of it at the halfway stage.
“But the third round was the killer,” he recalled. “I played with Marc in that round and although we both played well, we putted terribly. Neither of us fed off each other and we got left behind.”
A week after this season’s big bash in St Andrews, Lawrie will contest the Senior Open over the King’s course at Gleneagles. He’ll be seeking some sort of redemption this year after a disappointing showing in the 2021 edition of the over-50s major at Sunningdale.
“It was my only really poor performance of the year and I was absolutely gutted with the way I played, it was awful,” he reflected of 36-holes that left him 11-over and on an early journey back up the road. Lawrie played alongside celebrated compatriot Colin Montgomerie during those two rounds but instead of feeding off the full Monty, he toiled.
“I still struggle to play with Monty a little bit,” confessed Lawrie of a man who has the kind of commanding presence that used to be the reserve of the Colossus of Rhodes. “In my era, he was probably the best Scottish player and whenever you play with him you do feel a wee bit under the cosh.”
Now he knows how the golf writers feel when they have to ask Monty for a quick word after he’s just three-putted the last.
Away from his own golf outings, Lawrie’s tireless efforts to develop talent and provide playing opportunities for others in his homeland continue to sustain him. His own Tartan Pro Tour, which started in 2020 to fill the vast void created by the ravages of the pandemic, is going from strength to strength while the management side of things, aided by his own experiences at the highest level, has led to plenty of pearls of wisdom being dished out. There’s also been the odd kick up the you-know-what too.
“I’ve been a player, I know how difficult it is when you’re not playing well and I enjoy putting my arm around them,” he added. “But sometimes I enjoy giving them a bit of a ticking off because I had that with Adam Hunter (his late coach).
“Adam was able to speak to me and say what he wanted. You need that as a player. You don’t need a ‘yes’ man.”
Paul Lawrie kisses the Claret Jug after winning the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie.
As for the growing stature of that aforementioned Tartan Pro Tour, which boasted a schedule of 15 events in 2021? Well, Lawrie is allowed to blow his trumpet.
“It’s doing a great job,” he said of this fledgling development circuit which offers valuable invitations into a series of European Challenge Tour events. “You can see some of the prize money we’re putting up. I mean, Kieran Cantlay won 17-and-a-half grand for topping our order of merit. It’s phenomenal what we’ve done for these players in such a short space of time.”
Long may it continue.