• Alistair Tait

Arise Sir Paul Lawrie


Sir Paul Lawrie has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Sky Sports golf commentator Ewen Murray certainly thinks so. I do too. No doubt many Scottish and British golf fans feel the same.

As Murray pointed out on twitter, there are some knights of the realm who seem to have got the gong for doing relatively little, far less than the 1999 Open Champion has done. Murray tweeted:

“Knighthoods are given out too easily. They should be reserved for people who help others. No one has done more for so many than @PaulLawriegolf A great career, of course, but Paul never forgot where he came from. A truly outstanding individual who is the pride of Scotland.”

Tributes to the Scot flowed in from everywhere as he played his last European Tour round in the Aberdeen Standards Investments Scottish Open, his 620th tournament. Mark O’Meara, who preceded Lawrie as Champion Golfer of the Year, tweeted:

“Big congrats to @PaulLawriegolf on his final @EuropeanTour event this week! What a great career and the Champion Golfer of the Year in 1999 @TheOpen as well! More importantly such a great representative for our sport all of these years - well done my friend!”

As I pointed out yesterday, Lawrie, with the help of wife Marion, has devoted his off-course time through his eponymous foundation to encouraging youngsters to take up golf, and helping elite players make it into the professional ranks. That’s why he should be considered for a knighthood to join Nick Faldo and Henry Cotton as the other Open champions to place the title “Sir” before their names.

True, Lawrie’s one major title does not come close to the on-course accomplishments of Cotton and Faldo, but he’s arguably done far more to promote our great game than both combined.

It was with typical modesty that Lawrie announced his retirement from the main tour. Of note is one reason why he’s stepping back.

“I don’t want to play in tournaments just to make up the numbers. If I’m stopping a young boy from having a game, having a career, I don’t want that. I’m a big believer that you don’t hang about. When your time’s up your time’s up and you go.”

Typical unselfishness from the 51-year-old in stepping aside to give youngsters a chance, just as he’s been giving youngsters a chance for the past 20 years.

The saddest part of Lawrie's final round of 79, aside from missing the cut, is that there were no fans to give the eight-time European Tour winner a proper send off. Imagine the ovation Lawrie would have received from home fans as he walked the 18th hole of the Renaissance Club had this event been played in normal times rather than this Covid-19 era? The applause would have been tremendous and highly emotional.

Thankfully, Lawrie will still play the odd senior tour event – he’s defending champion of the Scottish Senior Open, which he won last year at Craigielaw Golf Club. He’ll also use his exemption as 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year to play in the Open Championship. Hopefully one day he’ll be announced on the first tee of The Open as Sir Paul Lawrie.

#JustSaying: “Like a lot of fellows on the Senior Tour, I have a furniture problem: my chest has fallen into my drawers.” Billy Casper

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