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Paul Lawrie has some sage advice for aspiring young golfers as he announces backing for Scottish Boys' Championship

In the proud, 77-year history of the Scottish Boys' Championship, this was definitely a first.

A live studio link-up with Paul Lawrie at Gleneagles and the Sky Sports studio to reveal the news that the former Open champion's Foundation would be sponsoring the under-18s showpiece in 2012. And to prove that TV really does rule the roost these days, the Sky mob completely ignored an 11am embargo on the announcement and battered on regardless.

Mind you, the presenter could hardly be considered an aficionado of the Scottish junior golf scene. "Enjoy this thing you're sponsoring," was his rather blithe sign off. Thankfully, Lawrie understands and values the importance of one of the domestic amateur game's most cherished events. That is why the 1999 Claret Jug winner has given his backing to the championship in a historic deal. The 43-year-old Scot has become the first professional golfer to sponsor a national Scottish Golf Union competition and April's event, at Murcar Links in his native Aberdeen, will be known as the Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys' Championship.

Having turned pro at the age of 17, Lawrie never played in the boys' championship due to the fact that his handicap of five as an amateur was never low enough to make the field. There was also another distraction. "I was playing a lot of football for a Grampian select team and I was not that interested in tournaments," he admitted.

Lawrie may never have experienced the cut-and-thrust of the junior flagship event as a player but it has left a deep and lasting impression on him as a parent. His eldest son, Craig, made a spirited debut in last year's tournament at Dunbar and battled through to the third round, where he was eventually ousted on the 18th green by former national boys' strokeplay champion Jack McDonald.

As a major champion, a multiple European Tour winner and a former Ryder Cup player, Lawrie is used to handling the tension. Watching Craig on the first tee in the first round of the boys' championship was a different kettle of fish, however.

"It was ridiculous and I was asked how I felt on the first tee and I said 'Nae great'," reflected Lawrie, whose other son , Michael, plays off 5.6 but may just miss the handicap ballot for the Murcar event. "I felt terrible and Marian [Lawrie's wife] was the same. Now you realise what they go through when they watch me. I had no idea how big an event it was and I was blown away by it. To sponsor this was a no brainer for us because it's exactly the kind of event we wanted to put our money in to."

Since forming his Foundation back in 2001, the commitment and dedication of Lawrie and his team to supporting and nurturing golf in his homeland has been unstinting while, last season, he launched his own Paul Lawrie Invitational event on the Tartan Tour. Emerging youngsters like David Law, who became the first player to win both the Scottish boys' and men's titles in the same season in 2009, and leading Scottish female amateur Laura Murray have both benefited hugely from Lawrie's willingness to pass on his experiences.

For Law, who is embarking on a professional career, the words of wisdom from his mentor will play a key part in his development over the coming months. It is in this area, the transition zone between the amateur and pro ranks, that Lawrie sees his own role as vital and he is eager for more of his fellow touring pros to follow his lead and help the next wave of talent flourish.

Stephen Gallacher has started a similar Foundation programme in the Lothian area, while Lawrie is hoping the considerable qualities of his recently-retired former Ryder Cup team-mate Andrew Coltart can be employed to good effect somewhere.

"It seems guys are keen to get involved but we need more tour players to put something back in, no question," insisted Lawrie. "It's mentors these kids need, I'm convinced. The SGU does a fantastic job for them and everything gets done. But they need people who have been there before to put an arm round them and tell them what's happening and what's coming up. David and the others have found it pretty helpful. They can call me, email me. I'm not blowing my own trumpet but I see that as a huge step for Scottish golfers."

Amid all his Foundation work, Lawrie has still found time to enjoy something of a career renaissance. A win, as well as a runners-up finish in the Dubai World Championship, during 2011 has re-fuelled his Ryder Cup ambitions and he will tee-off the new season in South Africa next week in purposeful mood.

"The biggest help for me has been Craig playing at the level he is," said Lawrie. "That has helped me hugely. When I take him out for a game I have to play well to beat him. It's unbelievable, playing off scratch at 16."

It will be now be very much a family affair at this season's Boys' Championship. And young master Lawrie will clearly be one to watch.

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