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JOHNNIE WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP AT GLENEAGLES


August 21, 2012


Paul Lawrie


AUCHTERARDER, SCOTLAND

MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Just give us your thoughts on the week ahead and playing at home again, another big week for the home lads.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, looking forward to it.  Obviously had last week off, had a few bits and pieces with sponsors last week but managed to do a bit of practise, especially on the putting.  And drove down this morning, hit a few balls and had a bit of work to do this afternoon and I'll see the course for the first time tomorrow.
I haven't seen the changes yet but I'll play it tomorrow in the Pro‑Am.¬† Looking forward to that.¬† It's a big week, especially for the Scottish lads, when you play in your home country, and hopefully there will be a big crowd out to watch the boys.¬† Can't wait.¬† Looking forward to it.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:   How is that putter?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Better.  Done a bit of work last week and got back on the putting arc.  I don't use it all the time but still work on the stroke a wee bit and it feels a lot better.  Hopefully we'll hole some putts this week.

Q.  How was the US PGA, the last round?
PAUL LAWRIE:  The US PGA was pretty similar to Firestone the week before.  There was a bit of everything going on.  Both weeks I played some nice stuff and I hit some horrible shots.  I had good spells with the putter and poor spells, and then I had a poor finish on Sunday.
I was 1‑under playing 17 and hit a 4‑iron left, as you've got to do really on that pin when it's right.¬† And it plugged above the kind of bunker line but in the sand; because there was no bunker that week, you don't get a draw from an embedded ball.
So I tried to have a whack at it and didn't get it out and then took a penalty drop and eventually made six.  It was a disappointing finish.  I played nicely at the weekend and really should have been a few shots better but that's how it is.  It was a steady but unspectacular two weeks.

Q.  Ryder Cup; congratulations.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Thank you.

Q.  Does it take a bit of pressure off this week?  Are you quite glad that you don't have to go in with that in the back of your mind?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, it's nice that it's obviously done.  It's been in the back of my mind and the front of my mind for quite a while as you can imagine.  It's hard to get away from such a big tournament.
I had a lovely spell at the start of the year and obviously semifinal at the Match Play and second at the PGA; you put yourself right in there, and we've been a guarantee for a long, long time but mentally you can't kind of see that.  You have to keep going and keep trying to grind out results like I was doing.
Chuffed to be in, obviously.  It's been a long time.  It's been 13 years since I played last time, so can't wait.

Q.  You said on your 40th birthday you would always win more tournaments; how proud are you of that achievement?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, there's been older players obviously what have played in The Ryder Cup and I'm 43 but I think it's unique not to have played in it so long and come back at that age and kind of get in.
You kind of‑‑ sometimes you kind of don't realise how good you've got to play to get in a team like that and to qualify fourth or fifth and whatever it might be, and how well you've got to do.¬† It's a huge achievement, and I said to you guys, it might even be bigger than The Open win; but when you think about it, The Open win will always be the biggest.
I think it's the second biggest achievement of my career.  I don't often say I'm proud of myself.

Q.  When you look now you've been so successful in your 40s, what more do you think you can achieve, or what more do you want to achieve?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† Well, now that I've got the goal of getting The Ryder Cup Team out of the way, there's a few little mini‑goals I've had in the back of I my mind.¬† I would like to finish higher up The Race to Dubai than I've ever done, which sixth is my best.¬† I need to kick on and play well in the big events to sort of get Top‑5 in The Race to Dubai; so that's a mini‑little goal I've had for a wee while now.¬† Obviously because Ryder Cup is so big and so important to everyone, and wherever I've gone, people have asked:¬† "Are you in yet; what's happening; what do you think?"
And it's hard to focus on The Race to Dubai and individual tournaments, because Ryder Cup kind of takes over a wee bit.  But now that's out of the way and I'm in the team, I really need to knuckle down the tournaments that are left and try to let that go and finish higher than sixth on The Race to Dubai.  Looking forward to it.

Q.¬† You've played four times in yearin America‑‑
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† I've played America off and on for a while.¬† This year I've been there a little bit more than I would have been the past few years because I'm back in the Top‑50 of the World Rankings.
I've actually enjoyed it this year.  I really enjoyed the Masters, had a great week out there.  Marian, and Michael, our youngest, came with us and we had a nice time, rented a nice house.  Michael enjoyed it.  We had some friends with us and had a few barbeques and bites to eat; so I've enjoyed America much more.
Obviously Marian is coming, and the boys are staying at home.  But playing over there doesn't do any harm for what's coming up in Chicago.  I think it's going to be pretty noisy and pretty rowdy, but it was the last time that I played there.

Q.  You just said the boys won't be coming to The Ryder Cup but they are the ones that really helped get you back into position.  You said they inspired you and now you're playing against them; and now they are going to be at school while you're playing; is that right?
PAUL LAWRIE:  The young one will be at school.  Craig has left school now and he's going to go to college next September in Dornoch.  He'll go to the highland school; he'll do a golf management degree.  The young one is 13, so he's back to school on Thursday this week.
Neither of the boys are coming to The Ryder Cup.  We both felt because it's so busy, and A, you're not going to see anything; and B, if Marian is walking with another wife who I'm playing with, who is going to look after the boys behind the ropes.
For me, it's not an environment for a 13‑year‑old boy to be at a Ryder Cup away from home.¬† I think it's different‑‑ they will both be at Gleneagles watching and spectating, I'm sure, in 2014 when it's here, but in America, not sure if that's the thing for the boys so they are going to stay home and watch it on the telly.
I think they were both expecting that they were going to be coming to be fair, but(laughter) but they are nae.

Q.  The older one does he start in Dornoch next year?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Next September.  He has a year, he's going to work a little bit at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, and he'll practise and play in tournaments.  So he's going to have a year off, which I think's right.  He's been at school a long time and he wants to kind of practise and work on his game.  He's been playing nicely.  He's got himself down to plus 0.2 so he's going to go to plus 0.1 one handicap now, so he's doing well.

Q.  Did you sit them down and say, 'I've got something to tell you'?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† No.¬† To be honest I think‑‑ it never really came up to be honest.
And then someone was around the house a few weeks ago and Michael had said in front of‑‑ the other people were there and he said, "I assume we are coming."
And Marian said:  "No, you're going to stay at home and watch it on telly."
I think he was a wee bit disappointed.¬† It was not‑‑ not so Marian than me, but we both decided there's a lot of stuff on that week; it's a busy week and the crowds are going to be unbelievable.¬† We have got a couple of friends that are going out but I'm not so sure that's kind of where a 13‑year‑old should be.¬† He's not coming.

Q.  Because the crowds will be too rowdy?
PAUL LAWRIE:  No, just because it's going to be really, really busy, and Marian is obviously going to be walking with the other wives and I think it's better if the two of them stay at home.

Q.¬† (Was the atmosphere a problem last time) ‑‑
PAUL LAWRIE:  No, it's not a problem at all.  It's part of what it is.  1999 Ryder Cup was like that and I loved it.  Had a great experience, even though the team lost, which was disappointing.  You win or lose as a team.
But I still took on that as a tournament that I always wanted to play in, and it was really pretty loud in 1999 so I can't imagine it's going to be any worse than that.
But I think it's different than now.  A lot of our players play over there and have houses over there and live there and are friendlier to the teams than the last time I played, so it should be fine.

Q.  I was going to ask what your overriding memories were from 1999 and if you still recall the memories from that opening tee shot.
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† Not sure if the opening tee shot will ever go away from me; I still wake up with wee shivers of it.¬† It was not pretty.¬† I was glad I did it, but the 15, 20 minutes beforehand, you kind of‑‑ it was not great, as I kind of say, quite a lot.
But these are things that you look back and you think, man, it was great to do it, you know what I mean.  But if you have to do it again, I'd have to pass the baton on that, been there and done that, and let somebody else have the nerves.
It was great to do, but you're standing there and man, there's everything moving apart from the ball, I can assure you.  But I hit an all right shot.  As long as I didn't miss it, I'd have taken any shot, whatever came out of the bag, that shot.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Bernie, you're late.
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† Bernie, just to let you know, I'm in The Ryder Cup‑‑ Bernie, you can quote me on that.¬† That's nice.¬† He's been asking me for six months; sir I'm not yet; we need to wait; we need to wait.
"Are ya in?  Are ya in?"
Bernie, I'm in.¬† You've been anointed now, you forget‑‑ (laughter).

Q.  Is it more excitement than nervousness this time?
PAUL LAWRIE:  I think it's a little bit different this time.  I think the last time I played, I had won the British Open in the summer.  But I was also a rookie, so that was a strange feeling to be a bit of both going in.
Whereas this time, I'm obviously not the British Open champion and I'm kind of 12, 13 years older.  But I'm looking forward to it.  Man, there's a little bit of nervousness there, too.  Every player, if they are honest would agree to that.  You don't want to let people do you know.  You want to do your best.  You want to win points.
It's nice if the team wins and everyone contributes something, whether it be half a point or a point.  It's up to everyone to go over there and do what they do and hopefully win the Cup again.

Q.¬† Have you spoken to Jose Maria before ‑‑
PAUL LAWRIE:  No, not really.  I don't think we really spoke about it to be honest.  He said, well done on your play the last little while, you've been playing great, and I don't think Ryder Cup was ever kind of brought up to be honest.

Q.  How much will you play before The Ryder Cup?
PAUL LAWRIE:  I'll playing this week, I'm playing Switzerland and then I've got a week off and then I have my own tournament at Deeside the week before Ryder Cup.  So I have three events before the Ryder Cup.

Q.  What repercussions are you expecting now that Augusta have got two lady members?  What do you expect to happen in Scotland and St. Andrews?
PAUL LAWRIE:  No idea.

Q.  What do you think of the news?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† It's good.¬† It's obviously very good.¬† I mean, I don't know, but personally, they were probably going to announce it during that week but there was a little bit of‑‑ Lawrence Donegan's thing in the press about the women thing, and I don't know if it would have gotten answered that week.¬† But it's good news that there's woman members at Augusta.¬† I don't think there's any doubt about that.¬† We'll wait and see what the R&A do.

Q.  (What do you expect from Jose Maria as captain?)
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† Yeah, I played in the Royal Trophy team that Jos√© Maria captained in Thailand and had a great time.¬† Really enjoyed it.¬† He was really good on the range.¬† He came over and he wasn't‑‑ he didn't interfere with the shots we were playing in the course.¬† He kind of said he was there if you need him.
There was a couple of days he left little notes on our lockers, thoughts for the day, stuff like that, which I thought was a great touch.  And dinner, he hosted a couple of dinners for the players and he was telling us stories about Seve.  I mean, he's a legend.  Everybody player respects him and every player will be trying to win for him no question.

Q.¬† At the get‑go together at Kiawah, did he invite you then to say anything about Brookline?
PAUL LAWRIE:¬† We had about a 20‑minute, half‑an‑hour chat, and he just explained a few bits and pieces.¬† And one of the question at the end, Peter Hanson asked what it was like to play in America, Ryder Cup, to play away, because he had not‑‑ he played at Wales.¬† And Jos√© said, "Paul, maybe you can answer that."
I said, "Well it's easy for me because I played with Monty, so all of the abuse was at him."  (Laughter).
That's what I said, and it's true. No problem for me.  So there's not much you can do, is there.  It's the truth.  But I said to him, "You'll love it, you'll absolutely have a great time."
I would like to play a home Ryder Cup.  That would be the next kind of goal for me.  I would love to play another one and play at home, would be the ultimate goal; but the fact that it's away doesn't really take it away from me.  Not a problem.

Q.  Is Ryder Cup Captaincy on your agenda now?
PAUL LAWRIE:  That's up the tournament committee to decide who the captain for 2014.  I think there's quite a few players that have a chance at being the captain now, so it will be interesting to see how the tournament committee see it.  I'm not on the committee anymore but whoever they decide to be the captain, we'll all be behind 100 percent.  Time will tell.

Q.  (What was it like for Monty?)
PAUL LAWRIE:  He was our best player that week, and so Monty was always going to get all the kind of abuse labelled at him.  Apart from the singles where obviously it kind of went over the line, I think if he was honest, he quite enjoyed it because he was the subject of it and he was our best player and he was a threat.  He said that quite a lot.  So, fair enough.  He was an awesome player and he was the subject of the torture.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Paul, thanks for joining us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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