- Alistair Tait
Lawrie's lasting legacy
Paul Lawrie is giving back to the game he loves with the announcement of the Tartan Pro Tour. Nothing new there: the 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year has always given back to golf.
Following on from Justin and Kate Rose’s Rose Ladies Series in England, Lawrie has instigated a similar mini-tour in Scotland to provide what he hopes is a “lifeline” for aspiring Scottish tour pros, men and women.
The six-tournament series runs in August and September. The 36-hole, 72-player events start August 5th at Carnoustie, where Lawrie won the Open Championship. The eight-time European Tour winner decided to launch the series after the EuroPro tour cancelled the entire 2020 season due to coronavirus. Lawrie has launched the series through his Five Star Sports Management & Events company.
“This period has been the strangest any of us have ever faced in our lifetimes, and as professional sportspeople we are champing at the bit to get back competing,” the 51-year-old said. “The Tartan Pro Tour has come about partly because Covid has obliterated our normal schedules.
“All of the pros I’ve had contact with throughout these past 12 weeks have no certainty that they’ll get a chance to play at all this season. I’ve been so impressed by the efforts of the European Tour to get the UK Swing of events to the stage it’s at but, for so many pros, the remainder of the year looks unclear.
“For the players on the smaller circuits, there’s little or nothing to set their sights on, sadly. And whilst there seem to be several smaller tours popping-up around the M25 corridor, it’s a long way for pros from north of the border to go without accommodation options and all the other considerations around air travel and so on.”
The tour has the backing of Farmfoods, Gym Rental Company, Blue Group, Cloudcube, the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre and the R&A. Along with money from corporate partners, 100% of all entry fees go into the prize funds.
Players giving back to the game is nothing new in golf. It’s one of the aspects of this game that makes it great. Lawrie has been doing just since he defeated Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde in that famous playoff at Carnoustie.
Unlike other European Tour pros who have upped sticks and moved to the United States, Lawrie has remained true to his native Aberdeen throughout his career. He’s not a flash sort of guy who flaunts his wealth with fast cars. The term “down to earth” fits Lawrie like a brand-new Footjoy glove.
Most importantly, Lawrie has done much to help grow the game in Aberdeenshire. He's has consistently gone out of his way to help local golf pros since his Open Championship success.
He set up the Paul Lawrie Foundation in 2001. The foundation is currently sponsoring David Law, Sam Locke and Sean and Craig Lawrie. However, his foundation isn’t just focussed on those who want to play professionally. Lawrie's mission is to encourage and provide playing opportunities for youngsters interested in taking up golf.
Lawrie’s name will be forever etched on the old claret jug for that 1999 triumph, the first Scottish win in the Open since Sandy Lyle in 1985. However, his lasting legacy will be the unselfish help he gave to golfers in his home city.