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July 5, 2011

Paul Lawrie


SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, thanks for joining us this afternoon. Paul, we have asked everybody that's come in what their impressions are, it's a new venue for The European Tour, it's a new venue for The Barclays Scottish Open, just give us your thoughts on Castle Stuart.
PAUL LAWRIE: I played the first time here a few months ago. I was up with my foundation sponsors hunting, who are also personal sponsors, two guys, and they loved it. Thought the whole course was good, the whole setup was nice, the clubhouse, the practise round, just everything about it. And I think the word I would use is class. I think the whole place has just been done beautiful.
And I played nine holes this morning and to be fair the course is pretty much the same when I played it a few months ago, so they haven't changed it at all. Nice bit of wind this morning, which was nice to see, so the whole place was really good.
SCOTT CROCKETT: It has got a nice feel to the event, doesn't it, even when you come in the door, it has the feel it of a big event here.
PAUL LAWRIE: It has. I think they have done it really well, the whole thing. I think the clubhouse is nice and maul and that's all you need. I think everything they have done has just been top-notch.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Your own form, Paul, obviously Andalucía was a highlight this year. Just give us your thoughts on your own form going into the week.
PAUL LAWRIE: I had to take last week off. I was a little bit hurt at BMW. Woke up on Friday morning after going to the physio, found that my rhomboid muscle was quite tight. I didn't know what a rhomboid was, either, but I know now.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Explain it, Paul, they have no idea.
PAUL LAWRIE: It's just down your shoulder blade. So I just took last week off and stayed home, rested, didn't do an awful lot and I played nine holes this morning which is pretty much the first golf I've played since the Sunday of BMW. It was a little stiff this morning, not great but good enough to play.

Q. Are you good at sitting around resting?
PAUL LAWRIE: Marian, am I good at sitting around resting? She's shaking her head. No, very poor at that. I'm an out there doing it kind of thing. I don't like sort of sitting. I sit for five minutes maximum and then have to go and do something.
But I was in the garage and putting about and had some grips to change and changed my loft and lies, didn't do an awful lot. I chipped and putted. Doesn't hurt when you chip-and-putt. So I did quite a bit of chipping and putting at the house last week. But it was quite nice to rest and make sure you were okay for this week.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Cut the grass, Paul? Do the hovering?
PAUL LAWRIE: No, can't hurt your golf muscles.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Not good news, Marian.

Q. Did the injury cut down on the distance you hit the ball?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, Friday at BMW, I was trying to take sort of ten yards off every club, was the idea. I was just kind of, three-quarter power, really. And up until the three holes to play, I was 3-under for the day. I was only hitting 5-iron about 170-odd yards, which is quite short for me. I just didn't want to hit it hard it was quite sore and then Saturday it was a little bit, and then Sunday it stiffened up again, so that was the idea. But this morning I played normal for nine holes. It was stiff but much better.

Q. Do you still have the tape on your muscles?
PAUL LAWRIE: No. They had to tape it after a couple of days. I've never had that before. It was quite a weird kind of feeling, as well, on the Saturday and Sunday. But the tape's come off now.

Q. Are you taking painkillers?
PAUL LAWRIE: Just take a couple in the morning, just to sort of dim the pain a bit. My pain threshold is not very good, as I'm sure Marian is agreeing at the back of the room as we speak. Just got to man up and get on with it, Bernie, as we do.

Q. Being a local-ish lad, you must be very pleased by the way the locals have taken to the event?
PAUL LAWRIE: Very well, going by ticket sales and I think everything is kind of ahead of what it's been the last sort of couple of years. And just like you say, it's fantastic to come to a place that has not had much top golf before, and I think it will be mobbed tomorrow. I think a lot of people are planning on coming, which is great for the players.
We enjoy playing in front of people. We are all looking forward to it. I think all of the comments have been really good the course. I have not heard any negative comment about the players' lounge at all this week, and why would there be. So we are all just itching to get going.

Q. Some talk of the course being too easy perhaps? What is your take on that? I suppose it depends on the wind?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, I think that's links golf. I think any links course is like that. If it's flat calm I think you're going to be looking at sort of 5-under a day type of thing and if it's not calm and it's blowing a wee bit I think level par, 1-under a day would be a good score so 4- or 5-under would be a good total. I can't see it being flat calm every day. I think we have just got a wee breeze today. So you can imagine this course in a stiff breeze would not be that easy. If it's calm, I would imagine scoring would be pretty low. But that's links golf.

Q. If this week was not The Scottish Open, was there a chance you might not have played?
PAUL LAWRIE: No, I don't think so. I'm not 100 per cent, but I'm good enough to play any event this week, whether it be Scottish Open or not. I wouldn't have played, had there been The Scottish Open last week, I don't think I would have played. But there's been a huge sort of improvement the last two or three days and I'm ready to go no matter what event this week, no problem at all.

Q. Will the fact we are now on a links course encourage players to come do you think?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, there was quite a few players over the last few years that had said they didn't play The Scottish Open because it wasn't on links, and I think those players are here, probably Pádraig being the most outspoken of them all, and he's playing, so it's good.
For me, it's not essential. It wouldn't matter, The Scottish Open is The Scottish Open. It's one of the biggest events we play, whether you play on links or not. It's nice because you can prepare for next week. My play has never suffered at The Open because it was at Loch Lomond before Loch Lomond was a great venue and I enjoyed that. I think it's nice that it's on links but I don't think it's essential.

Q. If you were to win The Barclays Scottish Open where would that rank in your career achievements?
PAUL LAWRIE: I think I've always said to you guys, if I was allowed one more event win, it would be here, it would be this tournament. Yeah, I would like another Open; who wouldn't. But I think if you were not going to get another Open, The Scottish Open would be next. It's your home Open. My record is not overly good, similar to my Open record the last sort of four or five years is not great, so I would like to play well this week and next week. But it would be a huge win for me this week if I won.

Q. Thoughts on going back to Royal St George's?
PAUL LAWRIE: Looking forward to it. I didn't play well, I don't think, the year that Ben won, the last time it was there, but played very well in '93, finished sixth; holed a 3-iron on 17 to finish sixth. Great course. Again, very linksy, very bouncy it was the last time. I haven't been down yet, so I don't know what it's like but I'm sure it will be the same.
But we have obviously got this week first. I would love to have a good week here first and then go down and it would be nice to do well next week.

Q. Does it perhaps help your shoulder that we are playing on a links course the next two weeks, ie you won't have to pound the ball all the time?
PAUL LAWRIE: I think it will heap hugely. Like today I played the back nine today and a couple of times, 14, I had 145 yard with a little bit of a crosswind ask just chipped a little 7-iron in there. You just never dream of hitting an 8-iron -- it probably will help this week. I don't have to stand up and hit 7-iron 108 yards like you would normally do in conditions. So that was 145 this morning and just chipped it in there.
So it might help. It's the form of golf I enjoy the best when you're kind of hitting 20, 25 yards off club and just taking a bit of speed off there and chipping it in there. Certainly you're going to have it this week and next week, even more, it's even bouncier next week so it should be good.

Q. Is the ganglion cyst in your foot still giving you problems?
PAUL LAWRIE: My ganglion cyst and then my rhomboid, so I've kind of got a few, yeah. But I had a cortisone injection about two weeks ago on my foot. So it's gone away, for now. I'll get about three months out of that cortisone before it starts hurting again, and then the plan is to get an operation in January and get it out a little bit. There's some ligament damage in there, as well. I'm just falling to bits as you can hear. Getting to that age where someone else -- a bit like Jock, you must wake up, aches and pains, take your pills and off you go. You just have to wake up and see how you are - Jock, you know how that feels.
SCOTT CROCKETT: I think Jock is just delighted to wake up every morning! (Laughter)
PAUL LAWRIE: I must put on the record that I never actually said that. That wasn't me, Jock. (Laughter).
No, the foot has not bothered me at all since I got the injection, so that's really good. But I'll get a few months out of that.

Q. In three months' time, you'll be the one remembered for saying it though!!
PAUL LAWRIE: No doubt. (Laughter).

Q. Is it fair to say you won't jump in the North Sea if you win on Sunday like a certain Frenchman?
PAUL LAWRIE: It would be fair to say I would never do that. But there you go. He's that kind of guy, isn't he. (Thomas Levet) He's a good lad. He's quite hyper, great win for him. Him and his manager probably thought it was a good idea to jump in the lake. I bet he is regretting it now.
Obviously it was unfortunate what happened. Great win for him, too. He has not won for a wee while and a huge win in his home country and obviously jumping in the lake and you're not playing this week, just a shame.

Q. With this being a new venue, do you think you will have an advantage over the rest of the field because you've played here a bit?
PAUL LAWRIE: No, not at all. I think most weeks when it's a new venue, the guys will just come and play the Pro-Am as their practise round. Pretty good at sort of adapting at what's in front of you. One round is normally enough on a new course to know where you're going and get the feel of the place.
The fact that I've had one round on it helps a wee bit but I don't think it makes much difference. The guys that are playing this week, it's a really, really strong field. These guys are very good at what they do. The fact that I have one more round than them is not going to give me an advantage. It's nice to play on a course, it's just in great condition and I'm sure everyone is going to love it.

Q. What do you think is the key hole?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, certainly when you move into the back nine, 16 is a drivable par 4. But you've got to keep it off the right there and then 17 is a tough par 3 to finish. And then 18, even though it's off the back tee, you know, I hit driver, rescue in there this morning.
So I think the last three holes, there's two really good birdie chances and then the tough par 3. So I think coming down the stretch, you're going to have to make at the least one or two birdies if you're tired or got a chance to win. It's a great finish. I think they have done the whole thing very well. 18, you can get there. It's an exciting finish.

Q. Any poor holes out there?
PAUL LAWRIE: I haven't played a poor hole out there yet. The whole course is magnificent. I don't think you can say enough about it. I think the whole job they have done, everything, right from the clubhouse, the practise ground, the course, I can't think of a negative thing.

Q. You have always had great support in the Scottish Open but being in this part of the world it will be even greater this week I suppose?
PAUL LAWRIE: Yeah, absolutely I saw the draw a few minutes ago and we obviously have Pádraig and Phil Mickelson in the draw which is nice, looking forward to playing with those two. I have not played with either of the two of them for a wee while. I've been playing nicely with a win in Malaga obviously that helped, and obviously being one of the local players along with Richie, I'm sure they will come out and support us, as they will do all the players this week.

Q. Any differences when you pull a draw like Phil or Tiger?
PAUL LAWRIE: Well, we played with Tiger in The Open at Carnoustie and apart from the 90-odd people inside the ropes, it was normal, really. But it's just hard going sometimes. You want to play your golf, but you know, it's difficult. It's not the same. Kind of different distractions which you've just got to get used to. He's used to that because he has them all the time. But I'm looking forward to it. Pádraig and I, obviously I know Pádraig really well and Mickelson I've played with a few times so it should be good fun Thursday, Friday. I'm looking forward to it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, as always, many thanks.

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