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December 8, 2011

Paul Lawrie


GORDON SIMPSON:  Well, Paul, it's probably nice to be in the clubhouse and out of the midday heat with a 65 under your belt.  I think there was a sense you felt that you were coming back to form after a midseason glitch.  Can you just take us through the round, first of all.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, I played really nice today.  Hit the ball very solid.  Gave myself an awful lot of chances out there, especially a wee run from about the 5th through to the 14th.  I seemed to be sort of in ten or nine feet, around ten feet, all day.
Rolled the ball nicely with the putter.  Best putting day for a long time.  I didn't hole anything outrageous, just any chance that I had, I knocked it in and kept the ball in play.  When you roll the ball like that, then you're going to make some birdies.
GORDON SIMPSON:  Nice to have the ball on a string then, is it.
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† Yeah, I only hit it off line‑‑ I pulled it off 12, the par 4 in the left rough about five yards and I hit 3‑wood a yard in the rough on 18.¬† Apart from, that didn't miss a green and didn't really miss a shot.¬† Quite an easy day.
GORDON SIMPSON:  If you're going to hit form, I suppose this is the kind of event to do it.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, I don't mind hitting form in these big events, it's quite nice.  It would be nice to keep going.  Obviously I've not played in this before.  First time here.  So we had a couple of good walks around the course when we got here from Hong Kong.  The course is in great condition.
I hit the ball pin‑high a lot today, which is quite difficult to do around here.¬† There's a lot of slope, and so I gave myself a lot of chances so hopefully can do the same tomorrow to Sunday.
GORDON SIMPSON:  Presumably very frustrating sitting at home watching this take place the first two years.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, it's not great when you're sitting at home and these boys are playing for 7.5 million dollars.  But you don't play well enough, you don't get in; so it's fair enough.

Q.  What were your ambitions coming into this week, and have they changed now after today?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† No, I kind of treat every tournament the same.¬† Obviously every player in the field is here to win.¬† Every player‑‑ it's not possible for every player to win, but when you tee off this morning, you are looking to play nicely and give yourself a chance with nine holes to play on Sunday.
I'm sure every player would say the same thing, whether you're in here or whether you're on the range, 2‑ or 3‑under, that's the goal.¬† You want to win and if you don't win, you want to finish as high as you can.

Q.¬† Just looking at a golf course like that, you would think, well, maybe it's not kind of suited to a finesse player like yourself.¬† Can you explain‑‑ well you know what I mean, you're not a bomber, are you.¬† So is it really not a bomber's golf course?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† I would have said that‑‑ when you get it pin‑high like I did all day today, my irons were just on the money.¬† There was a lot of shots where you have got to pitch it within three or four yards to get it close to the pin here.¬† There's quite a lot of slopes, and just seemed to do that all day.¬† I hit so many shots that were right on the button.
It's probably less of a bomber's course than maybe some with the slopes and the greens are quite firm.  Very important to have your distance control this week, which I had today.

Q.  You had some really low times prior to the win this year; how desperate were you in terms of the future?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Not desperate at all really.  I mean, when I won, I didn't actually know that it was that long.  I didn't know it was nine years.  It just seems to have gone by pretty quick.  It's not something I kind of struggle with or thought a lot about.  You know, there's an unbelievable amount of good players in Europe now.  Winning is not easy.  We all know that.
A, I didn't know it that's with a long, and B, when it did happen, it was obviously a relief and it was nice to win again.  But the quality of the fields, not really a problem.  Not really something that kept me up at night.

Q.  How much did you actually watch of this the last two years?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† I think it's one of those tournaments that you‑‑ yeah, I watched a little bit of it.¬† It's quite exciting, obviously when Lee won the first year, he obviously played very, very well and won by quite a few I remember.
But yeah, I've watched this event the last couple of years on the telly, not every shot, but it's a big event, and I watch a little bit of golf when I'm not playing.

Q.¬† Just looking at your recent form, you haven't had a Top‑10 finish since May I think.¬† Coming in, did you see yourself capable of this, or did you feel something coming on that would produce a 65 today?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Well, I played really nicely in Portugal, which was quite a few weeks ago now and I think finished 11th and just putted awful for the week.
And then last week, the first three days, I played pretty solid but didn't hole much and played terrible on Sunday last week, shot 5‑over and probably deserved a few more than that.
Got here and came straight‑‑ I got the flight, got in half four in the morning and came straight up here, had a shower and was here about six o'clock, hit balls all day Monday and did a bit of work and felt a bit better.
And then today it was just played‑‑ I can't play any better than that.¬† Hit the ball so solid and gave myself so many chances.¬† You're never sure what's going to happen.¬† I mean, nobody knows what's going to happen, but it's not a huge surprise to me; I've been playing sort of nicely for a wee while.
GORDON SIMPSON:  So your work ethic has not diminished at all.
PAUL LAWRIE:  No.  I probably hit more balls and work harder at my game than I ever did.  I'm only 42, got a long time to go.  And if you want to get a little better and I am move your World Ranking, you have to put the time in, so I've been doing that.

Q.  What drives you on then, Paul?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† Just being the best you can obviously.¬† I mean, it was nine years since I won in M√°laga.¬† You really don't want it to be that long again.¬† You want to win tournaments, you want to compete.¬† I want to be Top‑50 in the World Rankings.¬† It's not a money thing that drives me on.¬† I want to be best I can be.
My boys are now 16 and 12, and I don't want them seeing dad as sort of a poor player.¬† You want to be a good player for them.¬† They were giving me a bit of ribbing in that nine years that I had not won, which is fair for teenagers (laughter).¬† That drives me on, the fact that I want to be a decent player for them, that I want to be back in the Top‑50, that would be nice.

Q.  And obviously you think you can.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Absolutely.  Yeah, I wouldn't do it if I didn't think I could still win and compete in tournaments.
GORDON SIMPSON:  What sort of comments are you getting?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† Just the usual‑‑ I don't want to say because that will be the headline tomorrow, but a bit long in the tooth for that.
But just teenagers being teenagers and ribbing you a little bit.  When I won in Málaga, it was sort of nice to give it back a little bit to them.  But they are good boys, bless them.
GORDON SIMPSON:  I think you wanted them to see you win, as well.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Absolutely.  They were very young when I won last time in Wales.  So they are 16 and 12 now, and they are both keen golfers.  Both work hard at their game, so it would be pretty cool if one of them came on Tour, or both.

Q.  Take us through Monday then after you got here, how many balls, how long.
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† The flight‑‑ I think the flight got in at half four and I got back to the hotel and had a quick shower and I was up here about maybe quarter past six, had a bit of breakfast and I was out on the range by back of seven.
I think I went back to the hotel about four or five o'clock in the afternoon and pretty much hit balls or played nine holes in that time.  Hit a lot of balls.
But sometimes, you know, when you just need something‑‑ you need a day like that.¬† All of the top players will tell you that now and again, it's just a solid day on the range and things feel a bit better.¬† You've just got to put the time in.¬† Did that on Monday and had a bit of a day off.¬† Only played nine holes and only hit one bucket of balls yesterday.
I felt really good with my game.  You learn as you get older that beating balls when you're hitting it all right is not the secret.  So I went home.  I was back in my room about one o'clock yesterday afternoon and just chilled out for the afternoon.

Q.  How many shots do you give your boys and do you feel that they have got you in their sights?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Craig is 16, he plays off scratch.  Michael is 12, he plays off 5.  So when I play with them, I tend to play off kind of plus five, plus six, and they play their handicaps.
But they have both beaten me scratch¬† in the last sort of year or so‑‑ and I've just given you a headline, damn.¬† (Laughter)¬† Damn.¬† I'm doing so well there for a while.

Q.  Beaten you off bare feet.
PAUL LAWRIE: ¬†The first time Craig beat me was‑‑ we were playing at Dee last year and we were on a wee nine‑holer at de¬† and I wasn't really paying attention and we got onthe 9th, and I realised that he was beating me.¬† He had about 5‑footer to beat me at the last.¬† And I even tried to put him off.
I said, "You do know this is to win."
And he went, "Yeah," and he just knocked it right in the middle.
And you shake his hand and you say, "Well done, Son," but you're thinking something else under your breath.
No, they are very keen and they both have got a bit of talent, both very competitive.  So, you don't know what's going to happen.

Q.¬† Just a minor follow‑up on, that did he go around saying 'I've just beaten Open Champion?'
PAUL LAWRIE:  No, they are nice boys.  Their mum has done a good job.  She's very good.  She's a strict mum.  They are very good behaved.  So they wouldn't sort of embarrass me like that, I don't think.

Q.  Have they talked about wanting to be pro golfers?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Certainly the older one, Craig, he's been on about that for a wee while.  His first real big tournament, Scottish Boys, he played this year at Dunbar, and he really enjoyed it.  He was chatting to the press after his rounds, and I think he got a little bit of a bug for it and he talks about it quite a lot now so he's quite keen.
GORDON SIMPSON:  Of course, you turned pro at that age.
PAUL LAWRIE:  I turned pro at 17.  I was a 5 handicap when I turned pro at 17.  They are both miles ahead of where I was at that age, miles ahead.  Just can't comprehend how far ahead.  There are a lot of good kids that play now, very talented kids, so if they make it, they deserve to make it, because it's pretty hard out there.
GORDON SIMPSON:  Well done, Paul, cheers.

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