East Lothian set for a Lawrie load of great golf

Paul Lawrie, left, attended the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy at Macdonald Cardrona, where he met up with the tournaments host
Paul Lawrie, left, attended the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy at Macdonald Cardrona, where he met up with the tournaments host
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Paul Lawrie is heading for Edinburgh city centre tomorrow to play his part in promoting East Lothian’s exciting ‘Summer of Golf’.

And he will be encouraging visitors to a pop-up ‘Scotland’s Golf Coast Village’ in St Andrew Square to take advantage of a great ticket offer.

Not only has the cost of a daily ticket for the Paul Lawrie Match Play at Archerfield Links on August 4-7 been set at just £15. But, as an added bonus, that will also secure free admission to a second event, the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open, being held at the same venue on on August 19-21.

“What an opportunity,” declared Lawrie, who was disappointed with the attendance at last year’s inaugural event at Murcar Links but is quietly confident that its move to the Edinburgh area will prove successful.

“The event didn’t attract the number of spectators we thought it would last year and there were a few reasons for that,” added the former Open champion and newly-appointed Ryder Cup vice captain for September’s clash at Hazeltine. “

“We’re not slagging off people for not coming then, but we do need to get that better. It won’t continue if the numbers don’t improve because you can’t keep doing that.

“If you take away The Open and, of course, the Scottish Open at Gullane last year, there’s not been that many men’s professional touraments down that way (in East Lothian) in recent times.

“With the joint-ticket offer with the Scottish Senior Open, we are bending over backwards to try and get people along. If they don’t come, there’s not much more we can do.”

Last year’s Paul Lawrie Match Play, won by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, had two invitations up for grabs in a 64-man field. Lawrie needed one of those for himself while the other went to his fellow former Open champion, big-hitting American John Daly.

“We have four invitations this year,” revealed Lawrie, who paid a visit to the Borders last weekend to watch his youngest son Michael competing in the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy at Macdonald Cardrona. “I finished 101st on the Order of Merit last year, so I am hoping that might get me in automtically and leave us with all four invitations to work with.

“If we don’t, three is better than the one we were essentially left with last year but you learn as you go along with these sort of things. The Tour hadn’t had a match-play event for a while so they didn’t really know the right formula but one invitation certainly isn’t enough as you can’t change the field with one guy.

“We’ve not had discussions about who will be offered the invitations. There’s a committee, which the Tour are on, and it will be around the time of The Open when we will get an idea of who will be looking to offer invitations to.”

As well as tournament host and competitior, Lawrie is likely to be wearing his new Ryder Cup hat that week as the battle for spots on Darren Clarke’s team gets close to the finish line. “I don’t think anyone will necessarily play in the event based on me being appointed as a vice-captain, but it is a great chance for someone who might be on the fringes of the team to improve their position,” he said.

“If you win a couple of games, you are looking at ¤35-40,000 then, if you win three or four, man you are on money that can change your position.

“We are hoping that will put the tournament in a stronger position than it was last year, when there was no Ryder Cup.”

In place from today until Sunday, Scotland’s Golf Coast Village will give budding golfers the opportunity to take part in different activities. Lawrie is giving a clinic from 1-2pm tomorrow while two-time 
European Tour winner Stephen McAllister, now a European Senior Tour regular, is hosting one from 12-3pm on Saturday.

Staff at the Nike Performance Fitting Centre at Archerfield Links will be on hand to offer tips while Loretto Golf Academy is hosting children’s clinics tomorrow and Sunday.

In addition, there will be a long-drive simulator, nearest-the-pin simulator and a putting challenge.