• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Deeside date could be domestic bliss if Paul Lawrie rekindles Ryder Cup affair

It could be the most eagerly anticipated Tartan Tour event in years.

Should Paul Lawrie's rejuvenation carry him all the way to a place in the European Ryder Cup team, then the former Open champion will warm up for the transatlantic tussle in his own tournament on the domestic circuit.

The Paul Lawrie Invitational is set to be staged on September 18-20, the week before the Ryder Cup takes place at Medinah. They'll have to rope off the fairways at Deeside if the Aberdonian qualifies.

Originally, the 54-hole event was pencilled in for mid-May but Lawrie's renaissance, which has lifted him to fourth on the European points list, has forced the 43-year-old into a reshuffle of his schedule. He has now had to pencil the World Matchplay in Spain into the diary during that May week but, such is his passion for his own tournament, he has opted to switch the contest to September so he attend.

"It would be unbelievable if he made the Ryder Cup and to have him playing on the Tartan Tour the week before would be massive for us," said Michael MacDougall, the Scottish PGA secretary, as he unveiled the major dates for the new Tartan Tour season. "He didn't want to stage the event if he wasn't there, so this was the date that suited him."

Another significant change in the fixture list will mean the Scottish PGA Championship at Gleneagles returns to a peak season date. For the past two years, the flagship event has been held in October but problems with the weather last year, which meant the condition of the King's course was highly compromised, has prompted a review.

While the new July 23-26 date offered by Gleneagles will be ideal for the players, the profile of the national championship will undoubtedly suffer. It starts on the Monday morning after the Open at Royal Lytham and will run into the Senior British Open at Turnberry. "We wanted to bring the event back into the body of the kirk after a bad experience last year," added MacDougall. "In the grand scheme of what's on that week, it is not going to rank as high with regards to profile. In that sense it is disappointing but you have to think of the players and, from their perspective, it's perfect."

A new addition to the schedule will bring the season to a lucrative finale in early October when the Tomatin Three-Day Pro-Am takes place at Castle Stuart, Nairn and Royal Dornoch.

Backed by the malt whisky distiller and boasting a purse of £50,000, the contest is set to be the second richest on the circuit with the winning pro pocketing upwards of £7000.

The event rekindles the format of the popular SPGA Three-Day Pro-Am, which was held at Carnoustie and Panmure, but was discontinued over a decade ago.

"It's huge for us," said MacDougall. "They [Tomatin] pitched it high with a £1700 entry fee per team but we have already sold 65 of the 75 spots. We have teams from Canada, Sweden; it will be a real festival of golf."

TARTAN TOUR: MAJOR DATES

Jul 23-26 Gleneagles Scottish PGA Ch'ship, King's course

Jul 31-Aug 1 Muir Deer Park Masters, Deer Park

Aug 28-30 Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open, Meldrum House

Sep 1-2 Kerr Investments 36-hole Pro-Am, Dumfries & Galloway

Sep 11-13 Scottish Young Professionals' Ch'ship, West Lothian

Sep 18-20 Paul Lawrie Invitational, Deeside

Sep 23-24 Sandy Pipey Young Masters, Royal Dornoch

Oct 1-3 Tomatin Three-Day Pro-Am, Castle Stuart, Nairn & Royal Dornoch

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

84630