Open champion Paul Lawrie struggling for invitations on Champions Tour

Paul Lawrie’s status as a major champion is not carrying the clout he’d hoped for when it comes to securing invitations for the Champions Tour.
Open champion Paul Lawrie. pic: Michael GillenOpen champion Paul Lawrie. pic: Michael Gillen
Open champion Paul Lawrie. pic: Michael Gillen

While the 1999 Open champion is guaranteed starts in all the over-50s majors in his first season in the senior ranks, he’s been treading water trying to get into regular events on the US circuit.

“We applied for two recent events in Florida, the Chubb Classic and the Oasis Championship, but we never got in them,” said Lawrie, speaking as he prepared to return from a lengthy injury lay-off on the European Tour in Oman next week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We have others we’re waiting to hear. I think there are only two invitations a week. You are looking at a 78-man field every week and you only have two invitations for those who are not exempt. Last week that was Ken Duke and Peter Jacobson,” Lawrie smiled wryly.

Lawrie, pictured, who will be joining Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle in flying the Saltire on the Champions Tour, added: “At the moment, my schedule over there is six events.

“I have an invitation for the Insperity Invitational in Houston in early May and a verbal okay for an invitation to the Rapiscan (Systems Classic) in Mississippi next month and that’s it as far as the Champions Tour is concerned.

“I’m in all the senior majors for two years, some I’m in forever but others it’s for two years. But I’m hoping to add a few more. I will also be playing on the Staysure Tour in Europe and I still want to play on the main tour in the Scottish Open, Portugal Masters and Dunhill Links.

“If I can fix up the invitations I want on the Champions Tour, I’ll have a hell of a schedule as I have three tours to pick from… if I’m fit.”

In the past, being a major winner guaranteed an exemption on the circuit that has been dominated by Bernhard Langer over the past decade, but, frustratingly for Lawrie, that is no longer the case.

“You need to get five points to be fully exempt and I have three because I have only won once,” said the Aberdonian. “My Open win counts for just one PGA Tour win as far as they see it over there.

“But it’s my job to go out there and win early. If I get a chance to play early then I have to take it and try to win. It’s up to me now. In a way that’s better. You don’t want to be getting hand-outs left, right and centre. You want to earn it.

“So my plan is to go out there and win. I know that will be difficult, I’ve not played much golf, but that is the plan.”