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July 16, 2015

Paul Lawrie


THE MODERATOR: We'll make a start. Very pleased to welcome Paul Lawrie into the interview room. Paul, great start for you today, 6-under par 66. How important was it today to get a score in before the weather comes in?

PAUL LAWRIE: Well, obviously it was quite calmish this morning, so it's important to take advantage of those conditions if you can, and knocked a few putts in and played very well out there, apart from 17 which was probably almost a par-5 anyway. So no, very pleased. Putted very well. Hit the ball very solid, and it was what it was.

Q. Did you have any special vibe this morning before you went out that this might be a pretty special day in terms of how you played and your score?
PAUL LAWRIE: Never really had a special vibe, to be fair. No, not really. I mean, I hit it nicely on the range warming up, but sometimes that can have the opposite effect. Sometimes -- I don't like hitting it too good on the range because you get a little -- not overconfident, but this morning I hit it nicely and hit a decent shot on the first and missed it and then holed the bunker shot at the second, so straight away you could have gone 1-over and you're 1-under, so just little things like that tends to sort of jump start you a wee bit. But I played nicely in Munich. I played much better last week at the Scottish Open. I hit it awesome yesterday in the four-hole challenge playing with Arnold Palmer. So things like that. I'm kind of steadily been feeling it's been getting a wee bit better for quite a while. That was more my vibe.

Q. You knew what to expect for the galleries, but how does it feel when you're marching up there in contention in The Open at St. Andrews with a Scottish crowd and how did you control the emotions when you're playing like that?
PAUL LAWRIE: It's always really cool to play golf in Scotland in front of the best fans in the world. I mean, let's be honest. They cheer all the players, to be fair, but when you're a Scot and you get it going out there, then obviously you hear your name a little bit more than the guys you're playing with, for instance. But always great to play in front of -- I've been lucky enough to have a couple decent wins playing in front of them, so I kind of tend to enjoy it. I tend to play a little better in front of them. I don't feel more pressure. I feel the opposite. I kind of feel a bit more relaxed and I kind of play some nice golf, to be fair.

Q. Can you explain your shot at the 14th, your recovery shot to get par? It looked a remarkable shot.
PAUL LAWRIE: I had 123 yards to the pin over in the right-hand rough, and it was just an ideal, nice wedge, let it float up into the air in the wind. I normally hit wedge about 130, 135, so 123 back into the wind, it was just a perfect number for us and nearly popped in, to be fair. But I wasn't thinking I was going to make 5, to be fair. But there, go; these things come now and again. You get a wee break.

Q. How difficult is it to maintain concentration since you were waiting an awful lot of times to play shots? I think it was nearly a five-hour round.
PAUL LAWRIE: Not difficult at all. You just get used to it. It's just part and parcel of it nowadays. You just kind of wait your turn, and when it's your turn, you get on with it. If you get upset or get frustrated or let it get to you, then it's going to cost you shots. You've just got to do your routine when it's your turn and get on and hit it. Nothing you can do. I don't find it difficult at all, to be fair.

Q. I'm sure you won't want to get ahead of yourself, but what would another Open mean to you at this stage in your career?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, it's only the first round, as you know, so there's a long, long way to go. There's an unbelievable amount of world-class players playing this week, so not even thinking about Sunday as of yet. Right now I'm thinking about my lunch. I'm pretty hungry. Good day today, but long way to go.

Q. You mentioned Arnold Palmer. How much of a source of inspiration was playing with him going into today?
PAUL LAWRIE: It was unbelievably cool to play with him yesterday. He hit two shots at the first and then he didn't hit any more. But just to be out there with him, just to be out there kind of playing golf with him, I absolutely loved it. Clarke and I had a whale of a time playing with him, and he gave me a wee hug at the last, and he said, fantastic playing, when I kind of holed the putt at 18. That was a nice moment. It was pretty cool.

Q. Do you feel over the next couple of days the worse the weather is the better it'll be for you?
PAUL LAWRIE: No. No, I don't. I never think or wish for bad weather. I don't think any golfer does, to be fair. I have actually won tournaments in nice weather, not just bad weather, so it doesn't matter what comes. I don't wish for it. But when it does come, there's not much you can do about it, you've just got to play your game and do what you can do and shoot the best score you can shoot. Getting upset about it or getting frustrated about the weather is not going to make you -- it's going to cost you shots. I tend to -- my attitude is a little better and tend to kind of get on with it. But I'm not wishing for it to blow a gale or pour with rain, no.

Q. As things stand, you need an invitation to get into your own tournament. Is that the only way or can you --
PAUL LAWRIE: I think I might get in if I win this week. Maybe it's too late, I don't know. As I stand, I need to invite myself to my own tournament (laughter), which I will do, obviously. We obviously announced John Daly as an invite on Monday, and we're all very excited about that. He hasn't played golf in Aberdeen before, I don't think, so obviously Saltire Energy and Mike Loggie is extremely excited for John to be there. He's a big fan of John. So he can't wait to meet him and play with him. And the second invite will be me as it stands.

Q. You had quite a bit going on the greens. Did you make any alteration which helped you today?
PAUL LAWRIE: I put a different grip on my putter. I went to that Super Stroke grip that everyone seems to be using. I've tried it in the past, but I kind of changed my grip. I just thought I'd do something a little different because I've been putting quite nicely but just not making any putts. I've been hitting very few poor putts. I struggled with the speed. I couldn't get the ball going at the hole. I think a lot of guys struggled with that. The greens were beautiful but I think they were slightly slower than we're used to. They were a beautiful surface, and I thought, I might as well change some things. I put a new grip on it, and pretty much every chance I had today I took, which hasn't happened for a while. 17, I missed one from about 15 feet. Apart from that, I don't think I missed one inside 12 feet, to be fair. But changing the grip is the only thing I've done different. I'm still working away at the same stuff.

Q. You were kind of sandwiched between Jordan's group and Tiger's group with big circuses that go with them and you had to back off a putt at one point. What was that like?
PAUL LAWRIE: Not tricky at all. I mean, obviously I've been out there a long time and been doing this a long time. Sometimes you're going to get close to the best players and there's going to be a bit of commotion out there and you're going to have to back off now and again. That's understandable. Not a concern. Not a worry. Just, again, you wait until it's your turn, you put your glove on and you hit your shot, and if you back off now and again, so be it. No problem.

THE MODERATOR: Well, Paul, thank you very much. Best of luck the rest of the way.
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