HE WOULD probably have received little sympathy from wife Marian in last night’s phone call home. After all, the last time Paul Lawrie complained of feeling unwell heading into a tournament, he was told by her to “man up”.
In fairness to the 1999 Open champion, it wasn’t just cold symptoms that were making him feel under the weather on this occasion. A sore neck almost caused him to pull out of yesterday’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic Pro-Am halfway round. And, after taking part in a photoshoot to unveil a new Wilson Staff golf bag to mark the Irvine-based company’s centenary, he reported: “I’m not great.
“I’ve got the cold and my neck is pretty sore. I played about six holes this morning and said to the Tour that I might come in because it was pretty stiff.
“I managed to play all the way round after it slackened off a wee bit but I’m going straight back now to the hotel.
“I’m not getting physio. With the tournament starting tomorrow, I’m just using pain-killers and kind of stretching it a wee bit.
“I don’t feel good either because I’ve got a cold and feel a bit snottery, but I’ll be playing tomorrow as this is a big week for world ranking points.”
The Aberdonian put himself in contention in last week’s Qatar Masters before finishing joint 11th, his best performance since the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban at the start of 2013.
“I played lovely last week, when I could have shot anything and had a chance to win but didn’t hole enough putts,” added Lawrie, who has been a Wilson Staff player for a combined 14 years in two separate stints. “So, if I play the same and putt a bit better, you never know. We’ll see what happens.”
Craig Lee, who was on standby when Lawrie put out the call about the possibility he’d not be able to complete the pro-am, is in the same group as him today.
“I played with Craig once before but not a European Tour event,” recalled Lawrie of his draw. “It was a Tartan Tour event but I can’t remember where. Craig is doing great out here and he’s a nice lad, too.”
The pair, in fact, are a credit to the home-based circuit where they cut their professional teeth.