CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — On Thursday morning, Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, who won the Open at Carnoustie in 1999, will get his first taste of what it’s like to play in a major championship amid the Tiger Woods fan frenzy.
If he crashes and burns, he won’t be the first. Just ask Aaron Baddeley about his triple bogey at the first hole on Sunday at the U.S. Open. Or check out Stuart Appleby’s 75 in the final round of the Masters.
After discovering that he was paired with the world No. 1 (and Justin Rose), Lawrie admitted he is the sort of guy who would rather sit at the back of the room instead of the front. But he was doing his best Tuesday to put on a brave game face.
“I would rather it was low key,” he said, “but you want to play with the best players. It doesn’t bother me. I’ve played with him before, and there are a lot of distractions. But I’ll be looking after my ball, and Tiger will be looking after his.”
Lawrie’s two sons will be watching him this week, too. Eight years ago, Craig was only 4 and Michael was 6 months.
“I can’t wait for them to ask me what I hit in 1999 and what I hit this time,” Lawrie said. “Their mother is a little concerned because they are still only 12 and 8, and there will be a lot of people out there.”
And daddy is their hero, right? Er, well, no, actually.
“I would imagine every little boy wants to be Tiger Woods,” Lawrie shrugged. “And mine are no different.”