Scotland’s Paul Lawrie has announced he will be ending a 620 European Tour event career at this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
Lawrie, 51 indicated to journalists following an opening round of a two-over par 73 at the Renaissance Club that there are ‘a lot of factors’ leading to his decision.
The proud Scot made his Tour debut in early 1992 in the co-sanctioned Johnnie Walker Asian Classic in Thailand.
Lawrie capped his career in capturing the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie while he won seven other events, including a pair of Qatar Masters titles and has earned over Euro 12m in prize money.
He also was a member of the 1999 European Ryder Cup team and helped Europe to victory in the 2012 ‘Miracle at Medinah’ renewal.
Last year, Lawrie also contested 10 events on the now renamed Legends Tour with success at the Scottish Senior Open.
Lawrie, however, has been dogged with a back injury in recent years as evident in only competing in an average of six main Tour events while this week’s Scottish Open, being his 620th Tour start, is only his seventh event of 2020.
“There are a lot of factors behind the decision, the main one being that I don’t feel I can be competitive week in, week out at this level,” Lawrie said.
“My back is not very good. I’ve got a herniated disc and I struggle to practice enough. I’m not able to hit the amount of balls I need. I’m not particularly talented so I lose my game quite quickly.
“I need to hit hundreds of balls but if I hit 50 or 60 now, I have to go and sit down and come back in the afternoon.
“I’m also very busy off the course and I enjoy that more than the golf these days.
“To have played 620 events is not a bad innings considering I turned pro (in 1986) with a five handicap and didn’t think I’d play any. I haven’t been a great player, but I’ve been decent and that’s all you can ask for.
“I’m kind of almost pleased that I’m 51 and not 22 the way it’s going, to be honest. I mean, I would love to be 22 again right now with the technology and the fitness and the physios and all the things you’ve got, but the game is going to keep changing.
“Technology has been unbelievable. The driver heads in my time have just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and easier to hit and harder to shape. Golf ball is the same; golf ball just goes miles.
“My body is in bits and I’m still hitting it the same distance as I did when I was 22.”
Lawrie was unsure whether he will continue to tee-up in the Open Championship given he is exempt to age 60.
And Lawrie’s off-course time continues to be consumed with helping promote the game via his Paul Lawrie Foundation while he also manages the affairs of younger Scottish players such as fellow Aberdonian David Law via his Five Star Sports Agency.
Lawrie also launched the Tartan Pro Tour this summer, a developmental circuit of 36-hole events open to male and female professionals.
We wish him the very best of luck in his retirement.