Tait: Lawrie stays grounded, true to his roots
Sunday, February 5, 2012
DOHA, Qatar – Call Paul Lawrie the reluctant star.
Lawrie might have won his seventh European Tour title, but don’t expect there to be extravagant celebrations. The Scot is far too grounded for that.
Some European Tour players feel the need to go ultra materialistic when they get a little success. Suddenly the driveway becomes a little crowded with expensive cars. Many even move away from their roots, preferring instead to live in more affluent neighborhoods.
Some even forget their former friends. Many a faux-superstar has fell out of favor with rank-and-file pros because they’ve suddenly developed a false sense of entitlement after winning a few tournaments. An entitlement that seems to make them shun people they used to be friendly with.
Paul Lawrie is guilty of none of these things. Lawrie is as down-to-earth now as he was when he was a nobody just starting out on Tour. Even when he won the 1999 Open Championship, Lawrie did not let that success get to his head.
I’ve had the misfortune of being blanked by pros that would normally have stood and shot the breeze with me in past times, all because they’ve gained a little fame. Not Lawrie. He’s as friendly now as he was when I first met him back in the 1990s.
Indeed, Lawrie is so down-to-earth that he was quite comfortable having dinner with myself and another journalist on the Tuesday evening of Qatar. A most pleasant evening it was, too.
Lawrie’s best asset, though, isn’t being friendly to journalists. He has put as much back into the game as he’s got it out of it.
The Scot hails from Aberdeen in the northeast of Scotland. Getting from Aberdeen to European Tour events isn’t an easy commute. So Lawrie could have been forgiven four upping sticks and moving to the affluent southeast of England, following the example of many British professionals.
Not Lawrie. He still lives in Aberdeen.
The Scot has gone out of his way to give back to the local community too. For example, after winning the Open Championship he gave every Aberdonian the chance to be photographed with the old claret jug because he wanted to share the win with the city.
More importantly, he is heavily involved with the Paul Lawrie Foundation he set up to help junior golf in the area, much more involved than other players who have similar foundations. Lawrie has helped, and will continue to help, numerous talented youngsters.
He’s very hands-on too. Ask him about players in the system and he can give you a detailed rundown of their strengths and weaknesses.
Lawrie has gone further than just helping his local area. He’s agreed to sponsor this year’s Scottish Boys Championship. Expect the recently crowned CommercialBank Qatar Masters winner to be on hand when Scotland’s elite juniors tee it up at Murcar Links 9-14 April.
Watching talented juniors is far more appealing to Lawrie than walking around the showroom of an expensive car dealer.
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