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."