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August 25, 1999

Paul Lawrie


GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, I think the word you used to describe the course to me was "awesome." Do you believe that Olazabal finished all 18 holes?

PAUL LAWRIE: You have to think that he missed a few out. A 61 round is incredible. It's the nicest, longest golf course I've ever seen. It's just fantastic conditions of every hole; it feels like you're hitting a 200-yard shot, whether it be a par 3 or a par 5. It's a fabulous golf course.

GORDON SIMPSON: How does it compare to the likes of Carnoustie?

PAUL LAWRIE: I think it's going to be pretty tough. The ball is traveling a good distance when you hit the driver. And every shot is going to be quite long into the greens; the fairways are quite tight. The rough is quite high. It's going to be a walk in the park. (Laughing). I don't believe anybody would shoot a round of 61 here.

GORDON SIMPSON: Is it fair to say these days have seen a total change in your life?

PAUL LAWRIE: It's obviously been pretty busy. Getting a chance to play in a tournament like this is fantastic. To play against the best in the world is always nice. It's been hectic, but it's obviously been great fun. I wouldn't like it any other way. And just looking forward to playing in tournaments like this week, which are obviously fantastic.

Q. Paul, your first taste of U.S. golf courses. Any similarities between this and Medinah?

PAUL LAWRIE: I think Medinah was an awesome golf course, too. And there's obviously very few bad ones that these guys play over here. And it's very, very similar. I think the rough is pretty much the same thickness and the fairways are pretty narrow. And it was reasonably wet in Medinah as well. And I think they are pretty close, pretty similar.

Q. Do you think they have deliberately put the major champions together? A nice reminder of your status to the game?

PAUL LAWRIE: A nice touch. I saw Payne Stewart yesterday, and he said: You keep getting bad draws. I played in PGA with Olazabal, and it's nice to play with these guys. Obviously, Tiger and Olazabal are playing again tomorrow. So it's a nice touch.

Q. Moments after you won the Open, when you were reminded that you had played your way onto the Ryder Cup team, you seemed to absolutely startle. Were you as surprised as you seemed then, and had you thought about Ryder Cup before?

PAUL LAWRIE: Obviously, I was trying desperately to make the team. I knew after winning Qatar, I had a chance. But I didn't know that I was a definite to play until someone at the press conference said: You're a definite. And I thought: Wow, lovely, I can't wait to come here in September. But I didn't know that I was definitely in. But obviously when you win the Open, you get a lot of Ryder Cup points, which is nice. But I'm looking forward to it.

Q. You say you thought, wow, you can't wait until September. But now we know there are seven rookies against one in theirs. Is it still a case of "wow," or is it a case of "ooh"?

PAUL LAWRIE: It's just a case of "wow." I don't see the problem of being seven rookies. Everyone has put themselves on the team. And the two picks are obviously guys who are in the top 15 of the qualification system, and so they have played their way on the team. Obviously, they have only got one rookie, which is David Duval, which is a world-class player. I think you'll find, hopefully by September, that it hopefully won't make any difference. But it might. You don't know. But I would like to think it would be pretty close as it has been for God knows how many Ryder Cups. It always comes down to one point.

Q. What did you make of all the attention given to basically the guy who lost the British Open and the way it happened?

PAUL LAWRIE: That has came up quite a few times in the press conferences I've had. And obviously, like I've said before, John should have won; he didn't win. But obviously, he is going to get a lot of attention because of what he did on 18, 17 and still didn't win. I felt as though I had won, and it wasn't handed to me. I went out and got it. But everyone's opinion is going to be that obviously he threw it away, which he did. But he's proved since the Open that he's a really good player. And he's on the Ryder Cup team, and I think he's bounced back from what happened at the Open fantastically.

Q. How did those two playoff shots in your career rate?

PAUL LAWRIE: When you're in that spot, you don't think. Obviously, when you look back and watch the video and you see that you hit that shot. When it's happening, you don't think about it. A lot of people have come up to me, and said: "It's the best shot I've ever seen," and that kind of stuff. You don't think of what's going on. The one at 17, I knew John hit his shot pretty close at 17; so it was important to follow him up, really. The one at 18 was nice, and the one at 17 was equally good. I knew that I had to make a birdie to go in with a --

Q. Do you ever consider not hitting a long iron on the 18?

PAUL LAWRIE: I didn't know he was in the water. I thought he was in the bunker. I asked my caddie where he was, and I -- obviously, I didn't bounce it out. There was no question in my mind -- even if I knew he was in the water, I would probably have hit the shot I hit, I imagine. I knew I was hitting it. I had swung good all day. I had a 4-iron and hit it to the middle of the green and pushed it, which was perfect.

Q. What do you think of the format of this event, bringing all the top teams together in a very exclusive field for such big prize money?

PAUL LAWRIE: I think it's a good idea, obviously. Whenever you play against the world's best it's a great tournament. And I don't know if it's going to be this way forever, but I think it's a good idea to have all the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup players together. I think it's a fantastic tournament.

Q. Do you think it will get things a little anticipation building for the Cup? Can you sense that already?

PAUL LAWRIE: Certain people will say they put the American players against the European and how they are playing against how we're playing. That obviously has no relevance to what happens in September, what happens this week, none at all.

Q. Where were you when John played the last hole, and what were you thinking when you watched him play?

PAUL LAWRIE: I was on the practice range when he teed off at 18. Watching it in the little cabin in the practice range. And then I went back to the clubhouse and I was sitting beside Dougie Donnelly at the BBC place when I chipped in the bunker I went to hit some putts.

Q. What were you thinking when you saw him doing this?

PAUL LAWRIE: Obviously, we didn't really -- we knew he had to have 6 to win and 7 for a playoff, and you couldn't see him not being able to make 6 there on the last. But when he chipped in the water we thought we had a good chance. And we thought John wouldn't be involved for a second, but he made a great up-and-down to be involved in the playoff. After what happened in thhe bunker, that was fantastic. But obviously, a lot of mixed things were going through my head. You're not expecting him to do what he did, and all of the sudden he has done that, and I was just glad that I went to the range and hit some balls. I was focused on what I had to do and I hit some putts. My coach and I did things the right way.

Q. You were saying life has been hectic and busy since the Open. Can you maybe give an example of maybe two of the more unusual busynesses?

PAUL LAWRIE: Obviously, where I come from is not a huge place and everyone knows me anyway. But obviously, since the Open, everyone sort of go down the street and the staff knows who you are. And you go into a restaurant and people say, "Well done." It's obviously, thousands of letters and cards. Phone never stopped ringing for about a week. It's all fantastic. Everyone just wants to stay, "Well done." I come from quite a small place; so, it's been fantastic.

Q. How big is your town?

PAUL LAWRIE: It's a fair size, but in relation to certain places. Scott Henderson who played the European TOUR is from Aberdeen and there are only two of us. There are only two golf courses so everyone knows who you are or whatever. But now everybody knows who you are when you walk down the street.

Q. Do you still enjoy the attention or does it get tiresome?

PAUL LAWRIE: No, you never get tired of attention. It's always nice. Sometimes obviously, you want to go sulk away somewhere for a while, but now you can't do it. But no, it's fantastic.

Q. What's the next objective, Paul? Do you start looking at your place in the world ranking?

PAUL LAWRIE: I find myself these last two or three weeks start looking at my world ranking position, which I never used to look before. Obviously, the thing for me is to play well in all the big tournaments. Everyone's expectation of me has gone up, as my own, I'm sure. Everyone starts looking for your score all the time: What did he do today. It's up to me to practice hard and get up in the world rankings, really.

Q. How high?

PAUL LAWRIE: As high as I can possibly do. One shot at a time, and you're going to rise in the ranking, and if you don't, you're going to go down.

Q. Does the British Open change how you look at yourself as a golfer and how you can do?

PAUL LAWRIE: Obviously, you try your best and do what you've got to do, and it just happens that week that I had a nice last round and won the Open. This week I'm a little bit more confident than what I used to be before the Open. But nothing has changed as far as my swing or how I prepare the tournaments or nothing. I think everything is pretty much the same.

Q. Do you get a chuckle out of all the financial talk amongst American Americans about the Ryder Cup?

PAUL LAWRIE: Obviously, it's an issue that's been talked to for a long time now. I really have no stance on it whether it's right or wrong. I think the way it's been for the last God knows how long is the way it should be. I don't think you should be paid to play, but if these guys want to give the money to charity that's a nice tough. But as far as our style stand, I think the way it is is how it should be.

Q. We wonder how come we never hear this from the Europeans?

PAUL LAWRIE: I don't know.

Q. What were your thoughts going into the British Open? Do you think you couldn't win or were you playing good enough to win? Were you surprised as the thing progressed?

PAUL LAWRIE: I live about an hour from there; so I've played the course a fair bit in the past. I've won a tournament there before. I like the course. I always played well there in the past. You would like to think that you can win the British Open. Everyone obviously practices hard, and I don't see why you shouldn't be able to win majors. Everyone has got 14 clubs, and there's no reason why you can't beat these guys. But obviously, when it does happen, you think: Wow, it's amazing. You just won the Open. That's what you practice for. That's what you will at hard work is for is to hopefully win big tournaments.

Q. Have you talked to John at all since then or have you reminisced it at all?

PAUL LAWRIE: I have not reminisced about the Open, no. But I have seen him about three or four times. He's the same as he's ever been with me. We haven't talked about the Open at all since it happened. Obviously, you don't want to go and start talking about the Open and whatever. (Laughter.) There's no problem with John and I. He's a really nice guy. Got a the lot of respect for his golf, and it will not be a problem at all.

Q. Paul, should you triumph here on Sunday, $1 million is the prize money, added to your Open booty would make you a millionaire in the space of five weeks. It's incredible.

PAUL LAWRIE: It's lovely. Obviously, the money is nice, but you obviously play to win tournaments. You don't really play to win money. The money is lovely, but you need money to live, I suppose.

Q. How have you been living?

PAUL LAWRIE: I've been living pretty good. (Laughter.) I've been living real nice. As the press have written back home, they have been following me; I have bought a new car and bought a new house. It's been lovely.

Q. I don't suppose you have got anything lined up, should you manage?

PAUL LAWRIE: I'm sure I'll manage to find something. A lot of money, a million dollars.

Q. What was the tournament that you won at Carnoustie before?

PAUL LAWRIE: It was the Dailey Express Pro-Am at Carnoustie.

Q. When was this?

PAUL LAWRIE: I think it was maybe '90, '91 when I used to play in Scotland.

Q. What's the new car?

PAUL LAWRIE: I have a Porsche 911.

Q. Did you buy it second hand or was it new?

PAUL LAWRIE: Secondhand. I can't be wasting money, you know. Laughter.

GORDON SIMPSON: Have you bought a castle?

PAUL LAWRIE: No, not a castle.

Q. What were you driving before that?

PAUL LAWRIE: I have a Subaru Pressa (ph) at home as well.

Q. How big is the house you bought?

PAUL LAWRIE: The house is not that that bit. It's huge. (Laughing.) It's a nice house, but it's a house that my sponsor used to own. The guy that sponsored me used to own it. We've been there three or four times for parties and stuff. I said to my wife a couple of times: "I would love to buy this house if we ever did really good." It came up for sale right after I won, and I saw it was for sale. I said: "I've always wanted this house, so let's have it."

Q. Did your wife have anything she wanted you to get?

PAUL LAWRIE: For the house?

Q. Just anything. "Honey, maybe we ought to get" --

PAUL LAWRIE: My wife is from the country and doesn't really spend much. But she'll be getting better at that this next little while. She's learning quick. (Laughter.) Which is good, obviously, it's nice to be able to buy things for people who you care for. It's lovely.

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