Both as a competitor and the tournament host, Paul Lawrie is totally focused on this week. Once the second European Tour Match Play event bearing his name is done and dusted at Archerfield Links on Sunday night, the Aberdonian will then give his full attention to being one of Darren Clarke’s vice captains for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine at the end of next month. Then what?
At 47, Lawrie is fast approaching a new chapter in his career when he joins the Senior ranks. He’s excited about that, but isn’t finished yet on the European Tour. His goal, in fact, is to get back in the Ryder Cup reckoning as a player for the 2018 match in Paris.
“I don’t feel as though I’m done yet,” insisted Lawrie, sitting in his office at the Golf Centre bearing his name on the outskirts of Aberdeen. “In fact, my goal is to be on the next team. The last time I set that goal (when he bridged a 13-year gap between his debut at Brookline in 1999 and getting back on the European team at Medinah in 2012) I got in. Sometimes when you set a goal like that it can be the difference.
“My problem recently is that I just haven’t been fit enough to do myself justice.”
A niggling foot injury, for instance, has been troublesome this year while he’s now nursing a sore neck.
It was incurred as he dried himself with a towel after coming out of the shower a week past Monday, the day he was aiming to start hitting balls again after a holiday in Skye following The Open.
It is going to take more than a few aches and pains, though, to curb Lawrie’s competitive urges.
“My goal has always been to be competitive on the main Tour when I’m 50 and I don’t see any reason why that can’t be the case,” said the 1999 Open champion.
“I want to be able to play in all the top Senior Tour events and all the top main Tour events and still feel I can win. A bit like Miguel Angel Jimenez as he’s still playing on both.
“Making the cut at The Open was a bit better but making cuts isn’t what I’m interested in. I want to be competitive. Right now I’m not, but I don’t feel as though I’m a million miles away.
“It seems to be that when you get to 43-44 that you start losing your ability to be competitive on the main Tour.
“I feel as though I’ve managed that a bit longer but, all of a sudden, I feel a bit old and I need to see if I can reverse that.”