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May 30, 2012

Paul Lawrie


STEVE TODD:  Good morning, welcome to the Wales Open.  It's been ten years since you've been here.
PAUL LAWRIE:  It would be, yeah, 2002, 10th anniversary.
STEVE TODD:  Maybe just start with sharing some of your memories of that and your thoughts on coming back this week.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, obviously ten years was quite a long time.  A lot of things have happened recently.  Took a while for things to happen but there you go.  We're getting there again.  But no, obviously Wales, 2002, came on the back of winning The Open in '99 and then Dunhill in 2001.
So it was a nice wee run for me, and then it took nine years to win again from this event, which is quite a long time.  But, you know, these things happen sometimes.
STEVE TODD:  Coming into this week in fantastic form, semifinals in the Match Play and then a great show of second place last week.  You must be delighted with the form.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, it's been really good.  I've played some nice golf for a while now, going back to Andalucía, sort of started last year where it really kind of kicked off and then Race to Dubai, finished second there and then came back and won in Qatar and loads of Top-10s.  Yeah, it's been brilliant, a nice run.
STEVE TODD:  A third and second last week, you're going in the right direction, anyway.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Let's hope so.  You never know.

Q.  Where did the inspiration come from?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Well, I've said a few times that every golfer gets to a certain point where they are not just going through the motions, but you need something to happen to kind of kick you on a wee bit.  You get to a certain age, and I think 40, 41, you kind of need something to happen to get you to get back to work a bit more.
My son, he was 14, and he beat me over nine holes and I really didn't like that.  I was proud of him and he's obviously kind of starting to be a bit of a golfer, but when something like that happens, and then I did Ryder Cup commentary here last time at Ryder Cup, and again, I think these guys just make it look so easy, Ewan Murray and Bruce Critchley and all these boys.  That week, I just thought, man, if this is what I'm going to be doing, I don't think I'm cut out for that and I don't think I'm good enough to do what they do.
So I kind of started practising a bit more and got in the gym and lost a bit of weight and worked a bit on the putting and played more golf at home.  I think the combination of Craig beating me for the first time and then doing some commentating, I thought, man, I think I still want to keep playing a bit longer.
So I got the head down and did a little bit of work, mainly on the putting inside at the house, and things started to happen again.
And then as you go, week-after-week, and you keep having good finishes, the confidence builds and all of a sudden before you know where you are, you're right back in the thick of it.  So I think it's happened over a period, but those two instances are kind of what started it I think.  Not that I wasn't pleased that he beat me; I mean, I was delighted (laughter).
But it's something that kind of I thought would take a bit longer to be happen to be fair.  It sneaked up on me a little bit.  I wasn't prepared and I was a bit out of shape and I wasn't working that hard at my game and I was going through the motions a wee bit, so it was perfect for me at the time.

Q.  How do you like the course?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Which course.

Q.  This course.
PAUL LAWRIE:  It's really good.  Obviously I've played every year, The Wales Open.  Played last year, missed the cut unfortunately I think by one but obviously had a win here and had some good weeks here.  The hotel is one of the nicest we stay in all year, always is, and they have done a great job.  Obviously The Ryder Cup here was a great venue and it was exciting and it was a fantastic finish and Europe won, so it's a nice venue.

Q.  Thomas Björn said that the Ryder Cup spurred him on to play better because he looked at the guys and he thought, I could be as good if I put my mind to it.  Did his performance inspire you a wee bit as well?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, obviously Thomas won three times last year, and you know, he showed that he can still do it.  I don't know how old Thomas is, I assume he's younger than me.  He must be about the same age, maybe a bit younger.
When you see someone like Thomas winning three times, obviously he's hugely talented but it was more -- the commentating thing at The Ryder Cup, I was sitting there talking about guys playing and I thought, man, I would really like to be part of that again.  I would really like to be part of The Ryder Cup.
And that's why I've never hidden the fact this year is The Ryder Cup is really the only big thing I'm kind of interested in doing.  I would love to play in that team.  Obviously you want to win tournaments and do as well as you can every week, especially this week in Wales.  But if I can get on that Ryder Cup Team at 43, then man, I think that would be the biggest achievement of my career.  So that's all I'm thinking and all I'm focusing on.
So that's why whenever people are asking me about the team and stuff, I'll not be on that team until the list comes out and my name is on it mentally as far as I'm concerned.  It's all guns blazing, gung-ho until the Monday after Johnnie Walker.

Q.  Greatest achievement of your career?
PAUL LAWRIE:  I would say, when you have the talent that we have got on this Tour, to be in the top five on the money list for a year, or 18 months, or whatever it is; then I think at my age that would be a bigger achievement than winning The Open to be fair personally.  But people are going to see it differently.  It would be huge if I do, but there's a long way to go and we'll see what happens.

Q.  Playing next week?
PAUL LAWRIE:  No.  Two weeks off after this, and then I play BMW Cologne through to The Open is the plan.

Q.  How is the foot?
PAUL LAWRIE:  The foot's okay.  It's not great but you've just got to keep going and keep kind of putting it off.  It definitely needs something done to it, I don't know what, but I keep sort of -- I can't take time off at the moment.  It's an important time of the year and the surgeon, the specialist that I saw, said that there was a high chance of it not working with one operation and that it might need a couple of operations on it and I just didn't have the time at the minute.  I take painkillers in the morning and just you get on with it.
It's not ideal but, you know, not much you can do.  It's not hurt my performances.  So it's all right I think (smiling).

Q.  No worries about doing such a long stretch on it from the BMW?
PAUL LAWRIE:  No, again, those five events, it's a big stretch obviously.  But I've gotten pretty good at relaxing more than I used to.  You know, I don't hit many balls anymore.  I hit far less balls than I used to.  Most days now, I don't hit balls after I finish.  I just go straight back and ice it in the room, and then take a couple painkillers and try to stay off it in the evenings.
So I've gotten good at kind of managing what I need to do to play more.  I don't hit many balls which is a big thing.  I think that's helped my performances, too.  I think -- I'm not criticising the other players, but a lot of players, they hit too many balls.  You know what I mean, it's just about resting when you get to tournaments and getting yourself ready for Thursday through Sunday.  And I was certainly one of those boys that used to hit too many balls and then you're tired Thursday morning.  You have to be fresh Thursday morning.  I'm getting better at that as I get older.
STEVE TODD:  Thanks, Paul.

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