Paul Lawrie believes too much rough is not good for golf

Paul Lawrie during a practice round prior to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club
Paul Lawrie during a practice round prior to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club
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Paul Lawrie has called for the world’s top golfers to be given a chance to show off their skill rather than being forced to hack shots out of thick rough.

The former Open champion made his plea after being faced with contrasting tests in the opening two legs of the European Tour’s Desert Swing.

“The rough in Abu Dhabi was way too thick in my opinion as you couldn’t get the ball on the green from 130 yards,” said Lawrie of the HSBC-sponsored event won by American Rickie Fowler a fortnight ago.

“Last week in Qatar you could get the ball on the green from the rough,” added the two-time Ryder Cup player. “It was judging the distance and the control that was tough, but that’s how I think golf tournaments should be.

“There’s no skill involved when you are just chopping, knocking it down the fairway. Skill is when you have a lie where you can get on the green but have difficulty judging the speed of it. That’s where top players come into their own.”

Lawrie was speaking on the eve of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, won by Lothians star Stephen Gallacher in both 2013 and 2014 before Rory McIlroy claimed the title for a second time 12 months ago.

“Someone said the rough is quite thick here,” said Lawrie of the test awaiting a field being spearheaded by world No.2 McIlroy on the Majlis Course at The Emirates Golf Club.

This week’s field also includes Graeme McDowell, who revealed he is set to play in this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.

The 2008 winner’s commitment comes three years after he criticised the Inverness venue, claiming the event had lost its prestige by moving there after a long run at Loch Lomond.

“The Scottish Open is definitely going to be on my schedule this year and I’m looking forward to it,” said the 2010 US Open champion. “I’m sure they will be glad to see me there!”

After playing at Castle Stuart in 2011, McDowell then missed out the next two years at that venue as well its visit to Royal Aberdeen in 2014 before making his return at Gullane last summer.

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