Lawrie: ‘It was a victory that literally changed my life. It’s a special place.’
Popular Scotsman returns to site of 1999 triumph to launch sale of Open tickets for Carnoustie 2018
By SCG Newsdesk
TO this day, it remains one of the most dramatic and exciting climaxes in the history of sport, never mind golf.
Paul Lawrie’s stunning Open win in 1999 still lives long in the memory of those who were there, and those who watched in amazement on TV - and so it was fitting that the Scotsman returned to the scene of golf’s ultimate comeback at Carnoustie recently to help launch the sale of tickets for The 147th Open, taking place at the famous Angus venue from July 15-22, 2018.
The Aberdeen golfer won the coveted Claret Jug in unforgettable fashion in 1999, closing a ten-shot gap over leader Jean van de Velde in a gripping final day to force a three-way play-off with the Frenchman and the United States’ Justin Leonard, who won The Open in 1997 at Royal Troon.
His story has gone down in golfing folklore. Lawrie required to progress through 36 holes of Final Qualifying at Downfield to take his place in the starting field in The 128th Open. After carding a 67 in the final round, he watched anxiously as van de Velde triple-bogeyed the 72nd hole to set-up a three-way, four-hole play-off from which Lawrie emerged victorious.
Carnoustie is revered as ‘The Ultimate Test of Championship Golf’ and Lawrie retraced the steps to his ultimate reward - being crowned Champion Golfer of the Year - in anticipation of The Open’s return to Angus and the coast of the North Sea next year.
He walked the 18th and relived the moment when, from 221-yards, he struck a 4-iron that finished four feet from the closing hole.
“To be crowned the ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ is an honour and privilege that lasts a lifetime,” said Lawrie. “It was a magical feeling to return to Carnoustie and go back to that exact spot where I hit that 4-iron. I was delighted to see the greenkeeper had not only marked it out for me but put the pin in the exact same position as it was in 1999.
“It was a victory that literally changed my life. I was a very good player before The Open but, all of a sudden, I was ‘The Open Champion’ - a big difference. People forget I had to qualify to get in.
“Carnoustie has always been a course close to my heart as a native of nearby Aberdeen and it is a special place to return to as a former champion.
“It really is the ultimate test for any professional golfer and the world’s best are in for a real challenge next year. I look forward to taking on that test again.”
Tickets for The 147th Open at Carnoustie are on sale now. You get a discount if you pay by Mastercard.
Visit TheOpen.com/Tickets for full details