THE Tartan Tour will benefit to the tune of £75,000 this season through Paul Lawrie remembering his roots and wanting to help the next generation of Scotland’s Tour professionals be better prepared.
In a double boost for the PGA in Scotland circuit, Lawrie has increased the prize money for his own Invitational event at Deeside on 16-18 September by £5,000 to £40,000 and also put up £35,000 in a new sponsorship of the Northern Open, which will take place at Murcar Links on 17-19 June.
The Invitational event, hosted by Lawrie since 2011 and won last year by his protege, David Law, will be an Order of Merit event for the first time, with the field being increased to 72 and a qualifier being held at Royal Musselburgh on 4 August.
Being well aware of its history and having played in the Northern Open himself early in his professional career, Lawrie is excited that it will carry the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre as its title sponsor this year and will support the event by playing in the pro-am before flying out to the Irish Open that week.
“We are keen to support as much as we can and I’ve been beating the drum in recent years that we need more three or four-round tournaments, so we are delighted to back both the Invitational and the Northern Open,” declared Lawrie.
“When I was playing on the Tartan Tour, we had at least five or six 72-hole tournaments and that was marvellous because I wasn’t good enough to play on either the Challenge Tour of the European Tour at that stage.
“The pro-ams have a place but one-day chasing is not the way the Tour plays and we need to improve things to help these good young players get on to the Tour.”
Both announcements were welcomed by Brian Mair, the PGA in Scotland’s secretary. “The Northern Open sponsorship is a fantastic fillip for the Tour in Scotland, while the inclusion of Paul’s Invitational event [the host will still have 12 spots to hand out] on the Order of Merit takes it to a new level,” he said.