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January 22, 2013

Paul Lawrie


MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Paul, welcome back to the Commercialbank Qatar Masters.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Thank you.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  I assume it's now a very special place for to you come back to.
PAUL LAWRIE:  It's always nice to come back to a venue that you've done well at before managed to have couple of good weeks here over the years.  I enjoy the course; it's windy and very tricky you've got to control the flight of your ball, which I enjoy.  A bit of a challenge, and I'm looking forward to it.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  How is the game.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Game is really good tee‑to‑green.  Putting has been a bit challenging I would say.  I was 33rd at Durban, and 68 or 70 last week.  So it would be fair to say there's a little bit of a problem with the putter.
Tee‑to‑green has been really solid and putting has been a bit of a challenge, but I've done a bit better today and played nicely in the Pro‑Am and holed a few putts.  Hopefully it's better.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Any specific changes to the putter?
PAUL LAWRIE:  No, we had the stroke on camera a few times the last few weeks and it looked really good and the speed of it is good and the line of it.  Just not going in.  I've hit very, very few poor putts the past few weeks, just haven't holed any.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Looking back to last year, posting a victory, and obviously part of a great run of form that led you to Ryder Cup.
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, it was the first time I had been back in the Top‑50 again, for eight years, nine years, something like that.  So it was very important and the confidence you get from winning, obviously with a field as good as we had last year, it was huge.  Yeah, Qatar was a big, big moment last year, it was huge.

Q.  Any changes to the course?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Not much changes, the course is good anyway.  They don't need to change much.  The course has obviously been very good for a long time.  I think the bunker at 18 is a little bigger I suppose, that's the only change I can kind of think of.   The guys that have played here quite a lot over the years, because the course has been a good test for a long time‑‑ it always blows a wee bit, and they don't need to do much to it.  The course was in fantastic condition this morning, so should be a good week.

Q.  Are you confident for this week?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, looking forward to it.  Obviously my game is in good shape.  I would like to be putting a bit better and would like to holing a few more putts, why you I can't think of a golfer that wouldn't say that.  Nobody thinks they are a good putter if they aren't holing putts.
But no, I feel good, I feel relaxed and a wee bit tired.  I had a company day yesterday at Saadiyat Beach.  Got in late last night and early Pro‑Am this morning, so I'm going to go back and have a wee nap this afternoon.  As you get older, you tend to do these things, but no, by tomorrow, I'll be ready.
It's a great field this week.  Everywhere you look, there's top players at this tournament.  It's just the golf course is obviously high quality.  Everyone likes it and everyone's friendly and you get looked after well here as a player and the field is growing in strength every year and this year is one of the strongest events.

Q.  You must have good memories from last year?
PAUL LAWRIE:  It's hugely satisfying when you tee off in the final round one ahead and then shoot 7‑under like I did.  You can't ask any more of a golfer because you don't sleep much on Saturday night, different from people that win all the time.  Apart from Málaga I had not won for nine years.
So Sunday was a huge day, not just for me but to get over the line again.  I played beautiful last Sunday, and I could easily have been two or three back, without being silly, just hit the ball extremely well.  Like Ryder Cup Sunday, you're out No. 5, and you've got to win for the team to have a chance to get back in it, and you're 6‑under for 15 holes, it's a big moment and that's why you practise.  Sunday was a big day.

Q.  (Do you prefer to play in the wind here)?
PAUL LAWRIE:  I don't mind.  I certainly don't wish the wind, but when it comes, it doesn't bother me.  I would rather have it calm like everyone else.  It's easier when it's calm.  You get more chances at birdie when it's calm.
But when it is windy, you just have to get on with it.  Not much you can do; no one is going to turn the wind off when you tee off.  The wind is there, you get the ball back in your stance, you hit it a bit softer and keep it down.  It's quite simple really.  I don't wish for wind, I don't think anybody does that but I don't mind it when it's blowing, doesn't bother me.

Q.  What's your schedule now?  Next week?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Not playing next week.  I'm going home.  I have a company day for Pentagon Freight, one of my sponsors at the Earth Course in Dubai on Sunday, and then I go home from there for three weeks before I go to America.

Q.  You could become the first player to win the tournament three times – is that important to you?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Not really.  It's not something that I think about or has cropped up.  I didn't know last year I was the second until it was over.  Nothing that really concerns me.  I'll be on the first tee tomorrow trying to play as well as I can, make a few birdies and give myself a chance to win on Sunday afternoon.

Q.  Did you have a good break in the off-season?
PAUL LAWRIE:  Yeah, I had for the first time in many years, I kind of had a couple of weeks after the Million Dollar at Nedbank and didn't do anything, didn't hit one ball, which is unusual for me, but I was tired and it had been a long year and had been very successful.
I had been to a lot of tournaments, a lot of Top‑10s and so I thought, I need a couple of weeks to recharge the batteries and do nothing, and I did that.  I watched The Ryder Cup singles a couple of times and got good feelings from that.
It was just nice to chill out and not do a whole lot.  I'm always someone that's on the go.  Even a week off, I'll be hitting balls or doing some short game or doing some putting or playing golf with the boys.  I had two weeks where I had a bit of a rest; it was nice, I needed that.

Q.  Will you tell any stories from the Ryder Cup at your corporate day?
PAUL LAWRIE:  No, it was just‑‑ I think it was just hugely frustrating the first couple of days for everyone on The European Team.  The American boys outplayed us the first few days, there's no question.
But then Poulter's five birdies when him and McIlroy won, the team room was buzzing.  You would think we were ahead, not getting beat; I think I've read that quite a few times from players.  It's true.  Everyone was up for it.  We had a fantastic meeting on the Saturday night with the captain.  And then when it did, it's one of these moments that I don't think will be repeated from that far behind again.  It was just a huge moment, so it was good, very good.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  We'll let you go on that note.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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