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Convincing the best to try links effect was no chore for Paul Lawrie

IF THERE are jobs needing done around the house during Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open week, then Paul Lawrie will not be the man to do them.

Paul Lawrie kisses the Claret Jug after winning the 128th Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999 following a play-off. Picture: Patrick Hertzog/Getty Images

Cutting the grass, creosoting the fence, scrubbing the flagstones or maintaining the herbaceous border? There could be all manner of domestic chores that need tending. They will just have to wait, of course. Lawrie has more pressing tasks. "During a tournament week, I get to do what I want," said Lawrie with a smile, as he looked ahead to the July showpiece in his own backyard of Royal Aberdeen.

Instead of the week-to-week routine of packing bags and charging off to the airport, Lawrie will be in the fortunate, and rare, position of enjoying the home comforts for a tournament of sizeable significance. It has certainly helped him in the past.

During the Open Championship in 1999, Lawrie made the daily drive from his Granite City base to Carnoustie and ended up motoring triumphantly back up the A90 with the Claret Jug in the boot. "Let's hope it is a good omen," added the 45-year-old as he sets his sights on a Scottish Open victory that would further burnish an already polished cv. "I've been lucky that some of my biggest wins have been in Scotland. I won the Open, the Dunhill Links at St Andrews and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. I tend to pull out big performances here and I feed off the fact that people are following you around and watching you more than the other two in the group. Well, I'd like to think they are.

"I've made no secret of the fact that, before I stop, I would like to have the Scottish Open on my cv. Everyone wants to win their home open. To win it in Aberdeen would be unbelievable for me: a dream come true. It would be second to winning the Open."

Lawrie will have to go some to come out on top in this year's championship, mind you. With a field already featuring 23 of the world's top 60 and headlined by the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and the defending champion Phil Mickelson, the lure of the Scottish Open, staged the week before the Open Championship, continues to grow. The links effect is a major attraction and, with Mickelson having completed a double-whammy last July by winning both Scottish Open and the following week's Open at Muirfield, the rest are beginning to sit up a take notice.

"I think that was a huge factor in their decisions; as soon as Phil won both, quite a few of the players who had tended to take that week off thought again," noted Lawrie. "Players obviously take a look at that, make an assessment and think: 'Right, I'd better add the Scottish Open to my schedule the week before the Open'."

Lawrie having assumed a role as something of a rep for the local tourist board has also helped to bolster the stellar cast list.

"Obviously Aberdeen Asset asked me to speak to a few of the top players and certainly my Ryder Cup team-mates," said Lawrie, who is a member at Royal Aberdeen and is well versed in the various nuances that make it such a rigorous examination of the links game.

"It wasn't about selling them on it, because the Scottish Open is a massive event, but they [sponsors] asked me to speak to them [other players] about adding it to their schedule. The questions they [the players] all came back with were 'What's it like? What's the course like? What's the city like?'

"It's easy to sell Royal Aberdeen to any top golfer, because it's one of the best courses that they'll play. It's way up there: a proper links course. I spoke to Rory, I spoke to Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter; quite a few of the top players.

"They asked if it was a proper links, so it was easy to sell them on it. I told them they'd absolutely love the golf course, Thankfully, they've all added it to their schedule."

There is still time for a few more additions. Last night, Mickelson's fellow Californian and former Ryder Cup team-mate Rickie Fowler sent his entry form to the European Tour's HQ. "We would say it's one of the best fields we've had for the Scottish Open and, possibly, with a few more names to add, it could be the best field we've had," enthused Peter Adams, the championship director. "In terms of Open winners, we have Mickelson, Paul, Darren Clarke, Nick Faldo and Padraig Harrington. And we have a total of seven major champions in the field. There is a strong possibility that we'll be adding some more very high calibre names between now and the close of entries. We are extremely well set."

All that's left to do now is get someone to do those chores at the Lawrie household.

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