PAUL Lawrie, Scotland’s most recent Major Champion, and The European Tour have announced a new match play tournament, set to be part of The Race to Dubai for the next three years.
The tournament, named the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play, will be held at the Murcar Links Golf Club, on the outskirts of Lawrie’ hometown of Aberdeen, from July 30 to August 2, 2015.
Boasting a prize fund of €1 million, the tournament will see 64 of the leading players on The Race to Dubai play against each other in a straight knockout, match play contest.
Lawrie, a stalwart of The European Tour for the past 23 seasons, will host the tournament, with his 4 Sports & Entertainment management firm promoting the competition.
Saltire Energy, one of Lawrie’s own sponsors, will be title sponsor of the event.
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Lawrie has always held a strong affinity for match play, having represented Europe twice in the Ryder Cup, making a superb debut two months after he won the Claret Jug, and also played his part in the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ two years ago, beating Brandt Snedeker in the Singles as Europe staged a dramatic fight back.
The Aberdonian golfer also reached the last eight of the WGC Match Play Championship in 2000, eventually losing to Tiger Woods on the final hole, and came third in the Volvo World Match Play two years ago.
Lawrie said: ‘I’m delighted to be announcing this new tournament and it’s fantastic to be bringing another European Tour event to my home town of Aberdeen.
“Match play is a format that we don’t get to play too often out on Tour, and so it’s an exciting opportunity for an elite knockout tournament to come to Scotland.
“I’m extremely grateful to Mike Loggie of Saltire Energy for sharing my vision with this and for coming on board as the event’s title sponsor, as without the backing of such sponsors, none of this would be possible.”
Mike Loggie, Chief Executive of Saltire Energy, added: “Saltire Energy has sponsored Paul Lawrie since 2011 and the company is delighted to have been approached to be the title sponsor for the Major Champion’s exciting new golf event. This event is sure to be well received and it is an excellent sporting event that we have secured for the North East.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Paul Lawrie has been a strong and loyal supporter of The European Tour over the past three decades, as well as one of our finest players and ambassadors.
“We are therefore delighted that he is putting something back into the game at the highest level of European golf with this new match play event, on top of the commendable work he does at grassroots through the work of the Paul Lawrie Foundation.
“The Ryder Cup in Scotland was a huge success and demonstrated the appetite that Scottish golf fans have for match play golf, so we must thank Paul, along with Saltire Energy and 4Sports for helping this tournament to become part of The European Tour International Schedule. ”
Marcus Day, the Head of the Global Golf Division of 4sports, said: “4sports are delighted to be working in conjunction with Paul and the European Tour to launch the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play.
“Paul has been a huge advocate for golf to youngsters across Scotland through the time he personally allocates to the Paul Lawrie Foundation, so to now have his own tour event in his home town of Aberdeen is another fantastic step in helping to promote the game.”
Lawrie has close ties with Murcar Links through his Foundation. The links course, which was established in 1909, hosted the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Northern Open earlier in 2014, and the Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys Championship in 2012.
It was also the venue for the inaugural Scottish Challenge on the European Challenge Tour in 2006.
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