Paul Lawrie teed up with Luis Figo at the pro-am for the Portugal Masters yesterday then joked that he had tried to persuade the former Barcelona and Real Madrid great to sign for Aberdeen.
Lawrie is in the Algarve this week but his thoughts did not stray far from his native North-east. The former Open champion is a season ticket holder at Pittodrie and while the opportunity to play with Figo was warmly welcomed, the Scot advised the Portuguese legend to stick to the day job.
Lawrie tweeted: “Played with Luis Figo in pro am this morning. Great guy but nae a golfer. Lol.”
He later joked: “I offered Figo Derek McInnes’ mobile number but he said I would be no good to him.”
Lawrie is one of a clutch of Scots in the field at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course and for some, such as Chris Doak and Scott Henry, the focus will be on trying to hang on to Tour cards with only two regular season events remaining.
Elsewhere in the field, England’s Tom Lewis has taken inspiration from US Open champion Justin Rose’s early struggles after doubting whether he was good enough to make it to the top of the professional game.
Lewis burst onto the scene with an opening 65 at Royal St George’s in 2011, the lowest score by an amateur in Open Championship history, giving him a share of the lead.
He went on to finish 30th and win the silver medal as leading amateur before turning professional and winning the Portugal Masters in just his third event.
However, he finished 117th on the Race to Dubai in 2012 and was 155th a fortnight ago going into the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, one of three events left to get into the top 110 to retain his card for 2014.
A share of third place at St Andrews took care of those worries in style – missing out on the play-off by one shot after a closing 64 – and the 22-year-old Englishman can now focus on trying to win at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course for a second time.
“I’m pleased about where I’m standing at the moment,” said Lewis, who lies 90th on the money list. “I feel like I always expect more from myself and it was a shame I wasn’t able to get into a play-off in Scotland, but I can take the positives from it.
“I’ve kept my card and can go forward next year and try and chase a lot of points and try and play well early and see what happens. I am definitely in a different mindset now than I was a couple of years ago.
“I was worried about it for such a long time, I was getting down and saying ‘I’m not sure if I’m going to be good enough’. Every player will maybe not admit they go through these things but I am always going to be honest with that sort of stuff and say it was always going to be tough for me.
“I’ve worked hard and tried to find the areas I need to improve and feel I am in a good place now where I need to work and really go forward.
“You look at Justin Rose and his struggle has helped him in the long term [Rose missed his first 21 cuts in a row as a professional]. I think cream always rises to the top.”
From worrying about avoiding a trip to the qualifying school, Lewis can now think about qualifying for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The top 60 on the money list after the Turkish Open on 10 November will compete in the £5 million event and Lewis added on European Tour Radio: “It’s a bit of a different mindset but I have to carry on focusing the way I have the last couple of months because I have been playing well.”