Second wind for Lawrie in Ryder Cup
25 Sep 2012 - 23:49:04
At 43 he is the old man in the European side at the Ryder Cup and playing for the first time in 13 years, but Paul Lawrie says he is ready to enjoy second helpings.
It was at Brookline, Massachusetts in 1999 that Lawrie, on the back of his upset win in the British Open at Carnoustie that July, made his debut chalking up an impressive 3 and 1/2 points out of five including a 4 and 3 win over Jeff Maggert in the singles.
The bright promise of his early career soon dwindled though and, while remaining competitive, he was seldom a factor in the biggest of tournaments.
Then a win in Spain last year triggered a new burst of enthusiasm for the game and his re-dedication to working on the range has paid further dividends this year with wins in Qatar and in the recent Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, alongside a tie for second place at the BMW PGA.
Ryder Cup qualification was assured as his world ranking soared to a career-best 28th.
Lawrie said that working as a TV commentator at Celtic Manor two years ago had brought it back to him how much he still wanted to be part of the Ryder Cup setup.
"I wasn't putting the time in that I should have been putting in," he said.
"I had let my game and myself kind of go a little bit. I was thinking about winding down a wee bit, to be fair, playing a bit less.
"And there I was sitting there talking about guys hitting shots in a tournament that I wanted to play in again.
"So you knuckle down and you do the work that's needed to be done.
"I got a bit of confidence from winning in Malaga at the start of last year, and things have kind of gone on.
"But I think commentating there (at Celtic Manor) was the biggest factor. You know, you realize how big a tournament this is. You realize how huge it is.
"I want to be involved at Gleneagles (in 2014), so if I want to do that, I think I had to get in this team to make it easier to get in the next one. So getting in this one has been pretty big for me."
Lawrie was one of just three players to fly out of Europe on Monday along with captain Jose Maria Olazabal, the rest of the European team making their way to Chicago from their US bases.
That he said was one of the biggest differences this time around compared to 13 years ago.
"The last time I played, only (Jesper) Parnevik lived over here. So there was 11 of the players on the flight going out there," he said.
"This time there was only three of us on the flight, and nine met us here. I don't know how many of the team actually have houses here, but I think quite a few, to be fair. So that's changed completely since the last time I played."
The downside for Lawrie of travelling from his Scottish base of Aberdeen is that he suffers badly from jetlag.
"I struggled a bit, only made a couple of birdies," he said of Tuesday's first practice round. "But hopefully we'll play better tomorrow."