Paul Lawrie: Scot to end European Tour career after 620 appearances

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie says his “body is in bits” as he confirmed he will retire from the European Tour after this week’s Scottish Open.

The 51-year-old Scot, who lifted the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1999 and won seven other titles, has struggled with a back injury in recent years.

After his 620th Tour appearance, he will focus on the senior circuit.

“The main factor is I don’t feel I can be competitive week in, week out at this level,” said Lawrie.

“My back is not very good, I’ve got a herniated disc and I struggle to practise 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’m also very busy off the course and I enjoy that more than the golf these days.”

Lawrie – who posted an opening two-over-par 73 at the Renaissance Club in East Lothian – has an exemption for the Open Championship until 60, but is undecided over whether he will continue to play in the game’s oldest major.

He claimed his last European Tour title in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2012, the same year was part of Europe’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in the Ryder Cup.

“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,” he added. “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. Technology has been unbelievable. My body is in bits and I’m still hitting it the same distance as I did when I was 22.”

Lawrie, whose son Craig is his caddie this week, runs his own foundation and golf centre in Aberdeen and launched the Tartan Pro Tour this summer, a developmental circuit of 36-hole events open to male and female professionals.

He also manages several players through his Five Star Sports Agency.

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