Paul Lawrie urged to get proper send Scottish send off at St Andrews
Fans may have been deprived the opportunity - for the time being at least - to say a proper "thank-you" to Paul Lawrie for being a European Tour legend but not one of his Ryder Cup team-mates.
As the former Open champion made his 620th and final appearance on the circuit in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts stood at the side of the 18th green at The Renaissance Club on Friday and warmly applauded the Scot.
“I have always liked Chippy a lot," said Colsaerts, who made his Ryder Cup debut in 2012 at Medinah as Lawrie returned to that stage for a second time after bridging a 13-year gap from his first appearance for Europe at Brookline.
"We bonded and, of course, Medinah was another step into our relationship. But I always played in his charity events and he’s a respectable character as a person and a player. A tough competitor, but a genuinely nice guy away from the course.
“We just clicked. We went back and forth and there was banter. Since I was really young, I always hung around with the Scottish players and I found that again with Chippy. There’s a difference in generation with us, but I would wish that players would come and give me some applause if it was my last event. For someone I like, I wanted to return the favour."
Lawrie and Colsaerts were paired together by Jose Maria Olazabal for the second-day fourballs in Chicago, losing by one hole to Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, before Lawrie delivered one of the crucial points the following day with a 5&3 victory over Brandt Snedeker as the visitors pulled off one of a sensational comeback to win by a point.
“You look at the images when he holed that chip from the back of four," said Colsaerts of what that contribution against Snedeker, the newly-crowned FedEx Cup champion at the time, meant to the Aberdonian. "He’s not a very outgoing, celebratory type guy.
"When we played fourballs on the Saturday afternoon and lost on the 18th, I could feel it was really bothering him, so he made a statement going out, winning his point and helping the team."
Since revealing his decision, Lawrie has been showered with messages, mainly for his playing career but also for what he's given back to the game through a combination of a foundation, various events bearing his name and now a new circuit for Scottish professionals.
“He’s not under appreciated by those who know about him," insisted Colsaerts. "You ask someone who doesn’t know about golf so much, they might have to look at Wikipedia to see how much success he’s had. But I would and I think a lot of other guys would trade their career for his.”
On the strength of his Claret Jug success at Carnoustie in 1999, 51-year-old Lawrie is exempt for The Open until he's 60.
“If you ask him, I think he’d either go one of two ways," said Colsaerts. "Either the Scottish Open or The Open. Probably The Open is one where he’ll think, 'oh, I might have another few rounds at St Andrews'."
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