Yesterday was all about the Paul Lawrie way. A man of integrity and principles, the canny Aberdonian has always appreciated every opportunity the game of golf has given him and the doors that have been opened by the European Tour. The chance to represent Great Britain & Ireland in next week's Seve Trophy in Paris was never going to be turned down. His Ryder Cup team-mates, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, have turned their noses up at it. Lawrie, though, was always going to be up for it and the fact those aforementioned star attractions are not heading to France has provided the former Open champion with an extra event on his schedule. Ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the cash-laden pro-am shin dig which starts today at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, official confirmation came through that Lawrie, as well as his countrymen Scott Jamieson, Marc Warren and Stephen Gallacher, had qualified for Sam Torrance's GB&I side for the biennial bout with Jose Maria Olazabal's Continent of Europe.
"I'd walk to Paris to play on that team," insisted Lawrie. You could imagine the Scot clumping triumphantly down the Champs Elysees like a golfing Charles de Gaulle to line up on the tee. The walking boots may be reserved for another robust activity, however. The vigorous application of them to the backsides of Europe's elite players perhaps?
"It's not my job to slag these boys off on why they're not playing but it's disappointing," added Lawrie. "Is it the end of a long season and it's just one week too many? Could well be. I think it's important and I would have done whatever to play on that team. You're representing GB&I and you're representing Seve and what he stood for. I think all of the world ranking guys [on the qualification list] that are not playing. That's disappointing for everyone involved; the tour, who have done a great job putting it on, and for Seve and his family. I mean, my God, most of us are here playing because of what he did years ago."
With Torrance at the helm, and four Scots competing, the GB&I side may as well stride out in kilts. With an eye on next year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the Seve Trophy will be a fine opportunity for the tartan army to impress European captain Paul McGinley in the matchplay format. It could be an illuminating week but don't mention lights to Marc Warren. The last time he played in the contest, at the Hermitage in Ireland six years ago, a baffling incident with a chandelier in his hotel room left him in hospital. "I've still got the scar on my chest to remind me," said Warren. "I was in the shower when I came up with a new idea for my backswing. So I jumped straight out, put on a towel and grabbed my five iron.
"I had about 10 goes at the backswing and then, with the last one I followed through and felt a thud on my head as the light collapsed on me. It was scary because the gash was almost over my heart, about an inch wide open and I thought 'oh that's disgusting'." There would be a final twist to the tale. "The driver taking me to hospital thought I was going to a restaurant," he said. "I walked out wearing a t-shirt and holding a towel with blood stains on it and yet when I got in he said 'which restaurant is it?'"
Warren is one of a host of Scots hoping to dine out in style on the links this week amid the celebrities in a lucrative affair headlined by the two-time Open champion, Ernie Els.
At this event last year, a bleary eyed Martin Kaymer drifted into the Auld Grey Toon on a tidal wave of jubilation having holed the winning putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup just a couple of days earlier.
"We were all in a golf heaven then," said the refreshed German with a smile yesterday. "I've had three weeks off before this. And I haven't had a night out on Sunday like I did last year."