Paul Lawrie expects American team hopefuls at Gleneagles

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PAUL Lawrie is hoping to defend his Johnnie Walker Championship title at Gleneagles later this year against some of the potential members of the American team for the 2014 Ryder Cup at the same venue.

This year’s event in Perthshire is the last chance for players to get a taste of the PGA Centenary Course ahead of the match, as it was recently announced that the tournament is not being held in 2014 due to the logistics of the Ryder Cup.

“I would assume the American captain would like a few guys who are going to be on his team to be at Gleneagles this year,” said Lawrie, who celebrated clinching a Ryder Cup spot last year by winning on home soil. Whether they will or not I’m not so sure, although it would be nice if they did. If I was the American captain, I’d certainly be asking for that to happen. Why wouldn’t you want your players to play the course in a tournament situation?”

It had been anticipated that the Johnnie Walker event would be moved to a slot earlier in the year next season, with Celtic Manor having staged the Wales Open in 2010, the same year the Newport venue hosted the Ryder Cup.

However, that has been ruled out at Gleneagles, although the tournament will definitely be back on the European Tour schedule in 2015.

“It’s a shame that the Gleneagles event is not going to be held in 2014 – that’s a pity – but I can see the 
reasons for it,” added Lawrie.

As far as Lawrie playing in America this year is concerned, he won’t be coming home between the first two WGC events of the season, as he did last year.

After playing in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, which starts at Dove Mountain in Arizona on 20 February, the Aberdonian is staying Stateside before the WGC Cadillac Championship a fortnight later at Doral in Florida.

“My schedule this year will be pretty much the same,” he revealed. “Last year I wasn’t in the WGC Match Play until I won in Qatar, so I never really missed out on any big events.

“I will again play the Match Play and then Doral but this time I’m staying in America between them as I’ve got some corporate days fixed up with one of my sponsors in Houston.

Following three weeks at home, Lawrie will then head back to America for The Masters as the 2013 major campaign gets underway at Augusta National on 11 April.