It’s been 23 years since he won the Open Championship, but sometimes Paul Lawrie finds it hard to believe.
“It’s pretty spooky to this day and pretty scary to have my name on a trophy along with some people I’ve looked up to my whole life,” Lawrie told the PA news agency before taking the opening shot in the 150th Open at St Andrews.
“For Brits, it’s the biggest tournament in the world. If you’re American you probably want to win the US Open and the Masters before the Open, but for British players it’s the tournament you want to win.
“I never get tired of talking about it – looking at it even now and seeing the Claret Jug it’s amazing to have one like this in my lounge. It’s very cool and something I never tire of thinking about or talking about.”
Lawrie famously went from a 10-shot deficit in the last round at Carnoustie in 1999 before defeating Jean van de Velde and Justin Leonard in a four-hole playoff, with Van de Velde trebling the 72nd hole in tragi-comic circumstances bogeyte.
That means the former Ryder Cup player is ruled out for the Open until the age of 60, but the 53-year-old isn’t sure how many more times he’ll appear in the game’s oldest major.
“My game is in good shape for the over-50s age group, but I’m not sure it’s any more worthy of a full stage of the Tour,” he added.
“I’ve only played twice this year and lost in a playoff at Jersey and won at Trevose, but I’m not stupid enough to think the Opens will be the same.
“It’s a very different field but I said I wouldn’t play more Opens if I never felt like I could compete and I feel my game was good enough to compete and we’ll see , what is happening.
“I have until I’m 60 but things could change and I may not play anymore. I don’t think it’s my last, I think I’ll play a few more before I quit, but that will depend on how I play.
“I certainly won’t play when I’m too busy to practice and my game is in terrible shape; There’s no way I’m going to take someone’s place if I don’t feel like I can keep up.”
Clearly the ideal venue for Lawrie would be Carnoustie, which last hosted the Open in 2018 and could not do so until 2026 at the earliest.
Lawrie will be on leave until 2029. So what are the odds of him convincing the R&A to bring the Open back there in time for an emotional farewell?
“If only I had that influence on the R&A, that would be pretty cool,” Lawrie said, laughing. “I don’t think they will listen to me.
“I can’t imagine it’s going to be (at Carnoustie) in the next six or seven years, but you never know. The Open is a very special event for every player so I feel privileged to have attended so many and when the day comes when you can’t play there’s not much you can do about it.”
::: Paul Lawrie supports the 150th Open Championship Claret Jug Tour in partnership with HSBC UK. The tour has visited schools, golf clubs, town centers and HSBC branches across the UK and Ireland, ending in St Andrews for The 150th Open. For more information visit TheOpen.com and follow @TheOpen and @HSBC_UK. Fans can now vote for tickets to the 151st Open at the Royal Liverpool, with results to be announced by the end of September. To vote, fans must be members of The One Club’s free membership program.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/golf/open-2022-st-andrews-paul-lawrie-b2122386.html The Open 2022: Former winner Paul Lawrie is still excited hoping to play ‘a few more’