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.”