Paul Lawrie calling time on European Tour career in Scottish Open

Aberdonian feels he can’t compete any longer on main circuit

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 5:54 pm
Paul Lawrie tees off on the 17th hole during the first round of the of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Paul Lawrie tees off on the 17th hole during the first round of the of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Paul Lawrie is calling time on his European Tour career, having decided his 620th appearance in this week's Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will be his last on the circuit.

Having won eight times, including a major, and played in two Ryder Cups as a player on the top tour, the 51-year-old was entitled to be choking back some tears as he spoke about closing that chapter in his career to concentrate on senior service.

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“I just feel as though I can’t compete at this level anymore," said Lawrie, speaking after a decent day's work in the opening round at The Renaissance Club, having faced some pretty miserable weather as he carded a two-over-par 73.

"I can’t hit the balls I need to hit to be able to compete at this level and I always said I wouldn’t play if I couldn’t compete, so it’s been a pretty easy decision.

“I’ve not enjoyed the travelling for a while. I’ve not enjoyed that much for ages. I like being home. It’s been great. 620 events, oh man, sometimes it blows your mind. It’s nice. But it is time to go."

Under normal circumstances, he'd have been clapped and cheered every step of the way in his final round, but, due to Covid-19, there are no fans at all at this week's Rolex Series event.

“You all know me well enough that I’m bothered about that [a big send off]," he insisted. “It would be nice if a few people were here, but it is what it is. It’s great we are playing at all. It’s amazing. The spectators are the only thing that's missing."

The Aberdonian, who has his eldest son, Craig, caddying for him, will have close friend Stephen Gallacher and 2012 Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer for company if he bows out in Friday's second round, though is obviously hoping that can be delayed until Sunday.

"I’ll miss the banter," admitted Lawrie, who, in addition to play on the over-50s circuit, has a golf centre, a sports management company, a foundation and the new Tartan Pro Tour to keep himself busy.

The 1999 Claret Jug winner is exempt for the Open Championship until he's 60, but has still to decide how long he intends to keep playing in his favourite event. "I’ll probably play a few more, not many," he said. "I think at The Open you can be a wee bit more competitive.

“You can run it a bit more and there are courses I can get it around in The Open, but not this tour and this level and the way it is going with technology. I'm kind of almost pleased that I'm 51 and not 22 the way it's going, to be honest.

"I mean, I would love to be 22 again right now with the technology and the fitness and the physios and all the things you've got, but the game is going to keep changing."

Lawrie’s Scottish Open sign off comes in the same week as a last hurrah for his long-time friend, Martin Gilbert, who officially retired as chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments on Wednesday,

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