One of the best things about this great game for all the ages is that you can hit your half century and become the new kid on the block.

It is a bit like pressing the Ctrl, Alt, Del buttons on your computer and starting again.

“You don’t think of winning a rookie of the year award when you’ve played professional golf for 30 odd years,” said Paul Lawrie.

That is exactly what the celebrated Scot has won, though. A maiden season on the over-50s scene, illuminated by a victory on home turf in the Scottish Senior Open, earned Lawrie the rookie prize.

With his young compatriot, Robert MacIntyre, winning the newcomer equivalent on the European Tour, it has not been a bad year for the Scots of various ages.


For golden oldie Lawrie, the dark clouds created by a well-documented injury would eventually have a silver lining. A year ago, following surgery on his bothersome foot, the former Open champion was not sure if he would play again. Now he has a considerable spring in his step.

“I thought my career was finished to be honest,” he said of an ailment that required surgery. “I didn’t think they would fix it the way they have. I was teeing off, playing three holes and just wanting to walk in.

“I didn’t want to finish my career that way. But huge credit to the people who got me fit again. I’ve not felt it since. If it was the end of my playing days, then it was the end. I’d had a good run. But it’s not the end and I’m absolutely cock-a-hoop about that.”

READ MORE: Lyle still swinging in his sixties

With a new lease of sporting life, Lawrie’s 2020 vision will include competition on three fronts, with events on the main tour, the Staysure Tour (formerly the European Senior Tour) and the US-based Champions Tour.

“Winning a senior major will be the goal,” he said. “You have to play really well, the standard out there is really good. But I feel as though I’m more than capable of knocking a senior major off.”

With a full playing diary, as well as the bountiful duties he does for his own foundation, the new year will be as busy as ever for Lawrie.

As a past Open champion, he has an exemption into the championship until he is 60. The idea of becoming a ceremonial player in the game’s oldest major, however, is not a prospect that fills this great competitor with enthusiasm.

READ MORE: Nick Rodger's weekly golf column

“I’m not sure what I’ll do regarding The Open,” he added of the long trek down to Royal St George’s. “Sandwich is not one of my favourites and it’s a long way to go.

“The Senior Open [the following week] is where it is for me now and I have to be fresh for that. I’d have the Scottish Open, my own Invitational event the week of The Open, then The Open itself and The Senior Open.

“That’s a hell of a lot so one of them has to go and I think

it might be The Open. Last year, there was a bit of press about some of the older boys playing and not being competitive.

“I don’t feel very competitive at that tournament. Just making the cut would be a huge achievement so I’m not sure if that’s for me anymore.

“I’ve earned the right to play in it until I’m 60, that’s the rules but I don’t want to become a ceremonial player.”

Lawrie will turn 51 on New Year’s Day. The year just past has been worth toasting

“I started the year not being sure if I would play at all and now I’ve ended it with a win, a pile of top-10s and I’m enjoying golf again,” he said with justified satisfaction.

Roll on 2020.