Paul Lawrie won The Open Championship in 1999. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GULLANE, Scotland -- Good thing Paul Lawrie had paid for all seven nights at the Greywalls Hotel, the stylish Edwardian country house that has stood for more than a century overlooking he ninth and 18th greens at Muirfield.
So when the Scotsman drove home to Aberdeen Friday afternoon, thinking he had missed the cut at The Open Championship, his room was waiting when he had to literally reverse course.
"Just phone back up and your room is all serviced and ready to go," Lawrie said.
The Scotsman, winner of the 1999 Open Championship, had shot 69 in the second round but when added with that opening 81, Lawrie felt like there was no chance he'd play the weekend. So he headed home to Aberdeen, which is about three hours north of Muirfield, and his caddy took off for Glasgow.
Once he got home around 5 p.m. local time, Lawrie watched some of the Open on TV, with his iPad nearby on the sofa, presumably pointed toward the leaderboard. Then it was time to walk Bobo, his West Highland Terrier, and while they were gone, the texts started arriving telling Lawrie he was safe for the weekend.
So he grabbed a quick dinner, packed his bag, albiet a smaller one this time, and headed back to Muirfield. Thankfully, the roads were quiet and he was back at Greywalls by 11:20 p.m. local time.
"I don't think I've ever had to do that before," Lawrie said. "And thankfully it's just up the road. ... I can't believe nobody went overseas home on 8 over. I mean, that's incredible, really. ... When I came off the course, 6 over was 79th or 80th when I came off. How is 8 over gonna get in?
"It shows you how tough the course is."
Lawrie teed off at 9 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) on Saturday with Geoff Ogilvy and ended up shooting his second sub-par score of the week, a 70 that included four birdies and just two bogeys. It was a far cry from that opening round of 81.
And Saturday's 70 could have been even better for Lawrie, who made up 10 strokes in 1999 when he beat Justin Leonard and Jean van de Velde in a playoff at Carnoustie to claim the Claret Jug.
"(I made) so many poor shots (in the first round). Around a the golf course set up as tough as that and good as that, you're not going to do anything else," Lawrie said, "It's impossible to shoot anything else, but the score I shot, that's the worst I've played in a long time.
"Friday played beautiful, played magnificent. And went back to think a rhythm. Didn't get too technical. And today was the same thing, just played beautiful out there. Struggled a bit with the putter. Should have been quite a few less today."
MARANA, Ariz. -- Scott Piercy, making his first appearance in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, beat veteran Paul Lawrie of Scotland, 4 and 3, in the first round.
Piercy won the first two holes -- making eagle at the par-5 second -- and never trailed. He went 3 up at the turn with a birdie at the ninth, then produced three birdies in a four-hole stretch to end the match.
Piercy, a No. 8 seed, now plays Luke Donald in the second round of the Snead bracket.
To promote this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, Y.E. Yang and several other players gathered at the top of Victoria Peak, a mountain on the western part of the island, to hit shots into the stratosphere.
The views were spectacular and Yang tweeted several photos. In one, he posed with two other well-known players -- one of whom is participating in "Movember," a charity where men grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for men's health.
"Guess who these guys are," Yang tweeted. "You'll never know who the guy with the 'stache is.'
For the record, the Fu Manchu belongs to three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. – Paul Lawrie has returned to the Ryder Cup this week after an absence of 13 years, and a lot has changed during that time.
For example, only one member of the European squad – Jesper Parnevik – made his home in the United States so Lawrie the plane flight across the Atlantic to Massachusetts was packed with his 11 teammates. This year, he came with three and Captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
Lawrie hit the opening tee shot that year at Brookline playing with Colin Montgomerie in Foursomes against David Duval and Phil Mickelson. The Europeans ended up winning the match 3 and 2.
“To be fair,” Lawrie said he didn’t exactly enjoy being the leadoff hitter, so to speak. “It was kind of one of those situations where after it happened and after you did it, it was quite good to do and people still remember that you did it.
“But during it, it was kind of pretty difficult.”
The match referee tried to break the ice on the first tee by telling the two Europeans that he was, like they are, Scotch. It didn’t exactly work.
“And Monty said, "No, Scotch is a drink. It's a drink, it's a drink, it's a drink,’” Lawrie recalled. “And then he showed us pictures of his grandkids. … Man, I'm supposed to hit in two minutes the opening tee shot of the Ryder Cup, and this guy is showing me pictures of his grandkids.
“You know, it was strange, but it kind of made it a little bit of a lighthearted moment.”
MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Laird was 16 years old when Paul Lawrie came from 10 shots off the pace to beat Jean van de Velde and win the British Open in 1999.
Shortly afterwards Lawrie gave a clinic and held a Q&A session for the Scottish National team. Lawrie's friend Adam Hunter was the coach and a teenage Laird was a member of the team.
In an interesting twist of fate, on Friday, more than a decade later, Lawrie and Laird will meet in the third round of the Accenture Match Play Championship. Their match tees off at 1:26 p.m. ET.
"I remember looking up to him then thinking this is where I want to go," recalled Laird, who ended up going to college at Colorado State and settling in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I want to be holding the trophy like he is. And it's kind of funny now I'm playing him tomorrow right here in Arizona."
Lawrie has played some practice rounds with Laird, who won his first PGA TOUR event last year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. But he doesn't remember his fellow Scot from among the three dozen or so eager youngsters he met with way back in 1999.
"He mentioned that to me when we played nine holes a couple of years ago," Lawrie said."... Adam had asked me to come along and chat with the boys. I don't remember Martin. There was obviously about 30 boys there, but he did tell me the story. I'm a bit older than him, obviously."
The 43-year-old veteran hasn't played in the Accenture Match Play Championship since 2003. He enters the World Golf Championships event ranked 45th in the world and is playing extremely well with a win in Qatar and two other top-10s in four starts this season
"I'm looking forward to it," Lawrie said. "Obviously Martin has been playing good, and he's ahead of me in the world ranking (at No. 40), so he's the favorite. I'm looking forward to it. It should be good."
The 29-year-old Laird agreed.
"I like this golf course," he said. "I feel very comfortable
with desert golf. I was disappointed last year, I played well
and got beat by a better player on the day. So I've been
looking forward to getting back here this year.
"I played well the first two rounds, and I had to. It doesn't really matter who you've got, when you've got the top 64 players in the world you've got to play good to win. My game is looking good and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week."
Paul Lawrie, who hails from nearby Aberdeen, is the last player from the United Kingdom to have won the British Open. So it was interesting that the 1995 champion found himself in Thursday’s leadoff group – and actually hitting the opening tee shot in the 150th anniversary event.
Lawrie, who came from 10 strokes off the pace to beat Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde in a playoff at Carnoustie in 1999, is believed to be the first former Open champion in recent times to hit the leadoff shot.
Lawrie’s hybrid found the fairway and he parred the first hole. The 41-year-old veteran, whose alarm went off at 4:45 a.m., went on to make five birdies, three of which came in his final five holes, to post a 69.
The round of 3 under marked Lawrie’s best start in 18 British Opens. Steve Marino, who was playing with Lawrie, also shot 69 while the third member of the group, Thomas Levet, finished with a 73. – Helen Ross