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

When it comes to the leading Scottish golfers, Paul Lawrie tops that list too . . .

Deep lows, complex depressions, furious, unrelenting wind?

Paul Lawrie beat Brandt Snedeker in the 2012 Ryder Cup but such a feat is often dismissed. Picture: Getty
Paul Lawrie beat Brandt Snedeker in the 2012 Ryder Cup but such a feat is often dismissed. Picture: Getty

The weather forecast over the last couple of weeks bore an uncanny resemblance to the emotions and motions of the golf writers during the winter shutdown as we try desperately to winkle out column ideas from the dark recesses of the mind.

Peering out of the window for inspiration doesn't help, of course. Throwing back the curtains each morning, to be greeted by a whopping great wall of grey wretchedness, is akin to waking up in Colditz. Outside, the streets are sodden and a hunched, girning population trudge around in the gales, battling hopelessly with tangled brollies like Mary Poppins in the midst of a panic-stricken crash-landing. In this overwhelming gloom, something always crops up to divert the attentions away from the meteorological misery.

The other week in the US of A, one of those largely pointless pieces reared its head on CBS Sports, listing, in the author's eyes at least, the 10 worst major winners of all time. Inevitably, given the general ignorance that tends to cloud golfing opinion on the other side of the Atlantic, our own Paul Lawrie - or "Paul Lowry" as they often blurt over there - was included at No.3 on this infuriating index.

"He has never won in America and hasn't been all that successful elsewhere," drones the article with all the laziness of a sloth with an underactive thyroid, as the scribbler conveniently ignores Lawrie's five European Tour wins and brace of Ryder Cup appearances in the years since his 1999 Open Championship conquest at Carnoustie. During that period, Lawrie has got used to the belittling of his greatest triumph as commentators focus on Jean Van de Velde's final-hole French farce instead of the Aberdonian's nerveless, majestic display in the dourness of that astonishing Angus night.

There have been more cheap shots than in a Mexican tequila bar during happy hour but Lawrie, who turned 45 on New Year's Day, is long enough in the tooth and thick enough in the skin not to let these tired twitterings wind him up. Among his ain' folk, at least, the decorated Scot will always be respected.

During the Christmas period, Brian Mair, reflecting on his first season as secretary of the Scottish PGA, expressed his admiration for Lawrie and the largely unheralded work he does for the Tartan Tour. The player's own Invitational contest, a 54-holer with a purse of £35,000, is developing into one of the key tournaments on the Tartan Tour calendar and provides the entrants, particularly the up-and-coming assistants, with an event resembling tournament golf, as opposed to the one-day Pro-Ams that form the basis of the domestic circuit.

"When I started out on the Tartan Tour, we had eight or nine 72-hole events and now there are only two [the Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship and the Northern Open]," noted Lawrie

On the women's front, Lawrie and his eager associates who have the clout and commitment to make things happen, continue to back the Ladies' Tartan Tour - the new name for the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Scottish Ladies Open Tour - which provides a vital playing platform on home soil for both amateurs and young professionals in the transition zone.

Throw in the long-standing Paul Lawrie Foundation, a support network which goes from strength to strength, and you have the kind of tireless, behind-the-scenes work and give-something-back attitude that snide, ill-informed observers would simply never appreciate.

Lawrie, who served his apprenticeship as an assistant at Banchory back in the day and came through the ranks to become a major champion, typifies all that is good about the PGA professional. It's no wonder that Mair is delighted to have such an enthusiastic and powerful figure on board as he tries to bolster the Tartan Tour.

Mair's ultimate ambition is to produce another Paul Lawrie. Admittedly, you've probably got more chance of sticking your hands into a haystack and emerging with a fistful of needles given the magnitude of Lawrie's successes, but the PGA route can still unearth the talent.

In a golfing world of high-tech nurturing, where leading amateurs are mollycoddled through their formative years, the strides made in 2013 by the likes of Craig Lee and Chris Doak proved you don't need the red carpet treatment. A solid competitive grounding, a strong work ethic and a belief to clamber up the ladder has helped Lee and Doak - both PGA professionals who were Tartan Tour regulars not so long ago - establish themselves on the main European Tour.

Meanwhile, the likes of Lloyd Saltman, Michael Stewart and James Byrne - all are members of a high-profile new wave who were robustly championed - continue to struggle in the professional foothills.

Whatever the background of Scotland's golfers, though, the redoubtable Lawrie remains an inspirational figure. Those who cobble together absurd, mocking lists would do well to recognise it.

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

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.

204115