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July 17, 2007

Paul Lawrie


MARTIN PARK: Welcome ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to introduce 1999 Open champion, Paul Lawrie. Welcome back to Carnoustie. You must have some good memories of this place.
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, I do. It's nice to be back. It's nice when you're driving to the hotel here to arrive. We aren't here very often so it's nice to be back.

Q. You were saying last week that you'd rather be at the back of the room than the front of the room. How is it going to feel in those galleries you're going to have tomorrow?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, obviously I meant obviously from a personal point of view I would rather it be low key, but obviously tomorrow or Thursday's draw you're not going to have that opportunity. But you want to play with the best players. Obviously Tiger is by far the best player in the world right now and I'm looking forward to playing with him for two days. Obviously it will be all right. I've played with him before. He's a great guy to play with. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Q. Is there any chance an Open qualifier could actually win this?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, why not? Obviously it's a hard championship to be exempt for. There are a lot of guys coming through the qualifying. And there's a lot of true winners that come through the qualifying. If you can win on the Tour you can win. I came through the qualifying.

Q. Being paired with Tiger, does that put any pressure on you?
PAUL LAWRIE: It doesn't bother me. I've been doing it a long time. I've played with him before. There are a lot of distractions playing with him. I'll be looking after my ball and Tiger after his, and Justin after his. I don't have any problem with it. It's a good draw for me, obviously coming back to Carnoustie, and the last European to win a Major, and getting to play the defending champion, No. 1 player in the world, I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Could you talk about how the course looks and how it's playing compared to '99, compared to other times you've played it?
PAUL LAWRIE: I don't know, I've not been out there this year. I'm going out at 1:00. It will be my first look at it. I was down a few weeks ago. It probably looks different now than it did then. There wasn't much rush. I was down for a Coca-Cola R&A day. It was in great condition then, so I'm sure it's better now. I'm sure Mr. Philp has the course looking great as he always does. You always get good greens here. I'm looking forward to going out at 1:00. A few of the boys say there isn't much rough out there. It's such a good course, that I don't think it needs thick rough. We'll see what it's like at 1:00.

Q. You played with Tiger before and where?
PAUL LAWRIE: I've played with Tiger a few times. I played with him at Valderrama in a World Golf event. I think that would have been about 2000, maybe. I played with him -- I played against him at the match play at LaCosta in quarter finals when he beat me at 1-up. I didn't play well coming in. Monty and I played him in the Ryder Cup. That was the Saturday four balls at Ryder Cup. I think we've played three or four times together.

Q. You've got your two small boys who are wanting to watch this week. Are they going to be more interested in watching Tiger than you or how are they going to be on Thursday morning?
PAUL LAWRIE: I don't know, but I would imagine every little boy wants to be Tiger Woods, and mine are no different.

Q. How did do they react when they heard you were playing with him?
PAUL LAWRIE: Obviously I think their mother was more concerned than they were, because obviously it's going to be very busy for them walking around, they're only 12 and 8. They're quite little and there's obviously going to be a lot of people out there. I think they're extremely excited to coming down to the first Open and who I got in the draw. So they're both busy today and tomorrow but they'll come down Thursday for the first time. I'm looking forward to them coming down.

Q. The success of your dinner last night and the eloquence of your speech and your confidence, do you think they were all (inaudible)?
PAUL LAWRIE: Can I say to people that I'm not comfortable about standing up. But I'm getting better about it. It's my third junior dinner. I speak every year. Everyone is very complimentary about my speeches, so it's very nice. It's obviously part of what I do. We raised a lot of money last night, so that will go towards the program. We were all pleased with that.

Q. Just coming in from the States we've seen a lot of articles on you in the last week or two, a lot of interviews you've given. Very generous with your time. How has that been to go back through the process in the last month or so, to relive that '99 experience?
PAUL LAWRIE: It's obviously something that's part of what we do. I never had a problem with it. I haven't turned down anyone who wants to speak to me the last few months. We made sure whoever wants an interview could have one.
We did a Media Day here for the media. It's hardly a problem when you go back and talk about winning a Major. It's been great and it's brought back some nice memories and a few things that you kind of forget about that happened that were brought up. I've had no problem with that at all.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PAUL LAWRIE: The last time Craig was only four and Michael was six months old. He was born Christmas Day. He was only 6 months. Craig was only four. We got some nice pictures with the boys with the Claret Jug. He's now at eight and they're both playing golf regularly. Both playing pretty good and looking as though they both want to do a bit and play a bit more.
It's exciting. I can't wait to look forward to going back in the car on Thursday or Friday, and they will ask what I hit in '99 and what I hit this time. They've both got a real idea about golf, and the players, so it should be really good.

Q. I wanted to ask you what you thought of Angel Cabrera as a golfer and bloke. And obviously whether you agree that he's kind of an unsung Major champion, not got a lot of attention, and maybe why that is?
PAUL LAWRIE: I think he's a hell of a player, to the first part of your question. I played with him when he won the PGA Wentworth last year. He's awfully impressive with how he hits the ball, a long way and pretty straight, a great touch on the greens. He's a very unassuming kind of character. Kind of very low-key and down-to-earth kind of guy. I got on real well with him. And obviously being the U.S. Open champion it's maybe surprising if he is being low-key this week, because now he's the latest Major winner. I've always found him fantastic, a good, fun guy who hits the ball very well.

Q. Talk about the shape your game is in and the spotlight that's going to be surrounding you. Do you have any sense that there will be some negatives this week?
PAUL LAWRIE: My game is in reasonable shape. I think the last few weeks I think, not that I ever talk about making the cut being a good week. We've made four of the last five cuts, which I hadn't been doing at the start of the year. That's a positive there. There's been some very, very good patches of play the last few weeks where these patches of play have been good enough to win tournaments, and I'm obviously hitting a few shots that we're trying to get rid of every day. I played with Tiger, and playing The Open at Carnoustie this week, makes no difference to me, who it is and who you're playing with. I'll be looking after my ball and getting around the lowest round.
I've been here before and won before. You don't know how you're going to play this week. If it doesn't go well for me, it doesn't go well for me. I've played well, I've practiced well, I've put a lot of effort into this week, as well as any week. If you play badly, you play badly, there's not much you can do about it.

Q. There was a lot of criticism of the Carnoustie setup in '99 and I think a lot of people, players, couldn't wait to get out of town. That's what some people were talking about this week. If you can remember back then, how much do you think the town and the course needs to have a good week to be able to put their reputation back to where they hope it would be?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, again, the course setup is obviously not in my hands. That's in other people's hands. Me being just a normal player, as you are every week, you play the course that's put in front of you. I don't have anything to do with anything that happens with the course setup. Whichever course is put in front of me every week, I do my best to get my ball around it. This is an unbelievably fantastic golf course, it always has been and always will be. I don't know how much the course was set up in '99, but the U.S. Open was 5 over and it was 6 over here. It's always been a great course and one of the courses I always enjoyed playing. That's all I can say, really.

Q. In the interview, have you ever had a chance to sit with Van de Velde over a pint or dinner, and talk about how the day worked out for both of you? Have you ever done that?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, there seems to be an awful lot of you that ask that question. No. Jean and I don't -- we're not real sort of go-out-for-dinner friends. We say hello and when we play together we always have good fun. We always get on real well. I've never been to dinner with him or breakfast with him. So that conversation has never taken place, and I wouldn't imagine it ever would. Had it been myself and Al Forsyth and myself and Richie Ramsay, that might be the case, we might sit and chat about it. But Jean and I aren't in that circle together very often. So that's never happened, no.

Q. (Inaudible.)
PAUL LAWRIE: He came around to our lodge last week at Loch Lomond and we kind of went through a few things. It's great for me. I really enjoyed helping him a little bit. I like when he comes to me for advice. I've always tried to be honest with him, not lead him down a path that he's not sure of what's going on. If he asks for advice, I always give him honest advice. I think he's good enough to make it out here, to win tournaments. With playing in the Majors this year and coming close a couple of times, I think he's got self belief in himself, maybe more than he had. He and I know that he can compete out here. We try and help him all we can. He obviously calls me and we're playing together today at 1:00. I've got a lot of time for him. He's a great guy. I like the fact that he asks for advice. I ask people for advice. We get on really well. I've got a lot of time for him, so I hope he does well.

Q. Would you talk a bit about being the last European to win a Major, and does it shock you that it's been eight years?
PAUL LAWRIE: I think shock is not the word, I think it's amazing that it's been that long. Like I said to most of the new guys that I've spoken to over the last few months, it's not a lack of talent that we have on our Tour or even the Europeans playing in the PGA TOUR, the Ryder Cup results the last few years will tell you that. It's amazing that no one has won. But that's where we are. I don't like being the last European. I'm a European, I want to win majors. If I'm not winning them I want one of my guys winning them. It's one of those situations. I'm sure if one of them win, maybe a few of them might win. Maybe that's the hurdle some of them need to go over. We have so many on this Tour that can win majors. I think it will end soon.

Q. Does it ever bother you that your win in '99, your fantastic play that day was sort of overlooked because of what happened to Jean? Do you still sort of feel overlooked that people are remembering what happened to him that last day, that last hole?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, yeah, in a way I've tried to answer the question again with you guys over the last little while that I understand the sort of reasons that went down the road. Because obviously Jean had a 6 to win, and he made a 7. When you have a 6 to win down 18 you would fancy your chances. Golf has a funny way of getting the ball in the hole and playing 72 holes, not 71, is very much a part of what we do. And I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of Jean Van de Velde blew the Open, but, by God, Paul Lawrie shot 67 to win the tournmant by two shots by hitting the best shot anyone has ever seen down the last hole, but that didn't happen very often. That's not in my hands, that's out of my hands. So what can I do? There was a lot written about what Jean did. And rightly so. He had a 61. I didn't read a lot about how well I did the last day. But that's not my job.

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