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I'd love to see my new event help to breed next crop of Ryder Cup heroes; GOLF SCOTS STAR LAUNCHES EXCITING MATCHPLAY TOURNAMENT SAYS MIRACLE OF MEDINAH STAR PAUL LAWRIE.


PA U L L AW R I E reckons he's giving Europe's Ryder Cup stars of the future a chance he never had - to hone their matchplay skills for the big stage.

The Miracle of Medinah hero hopes his new event, at Murcar Links from July 30 to August 2, can help prepare emerging talent for the unique demands of golf 's gladiatorial format.

He was keen to introduce a fresh alternative to the regular four-round strokeplay events most weeks and is convinced the Paul Lawrie Matchplay event it will benefit the European Tour long term on the stage they value most.

Even more so now the Seve Trophy - a Ryder Cup style team event between Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe - has been scrapped from the schedule.

Lawrie said: "I didn't play a lot of matchplay golf when I was an amateur. I wasn't at a good enough level to play in the Scottish boys. Now you get kids who play off three or four handicaps at 12 or 13.

But I turned professional on a five handicap so I was never good enough to play the Scottish Boys before then.

"My first real go was probably the World Matchplay. I obviously went on to get in the Ryder Cup team and my matchplay record over the years is reasonable.

"We have enough fourround strokeplay events and I think this will capture the imagination of the players.

"I always enjoyed the Seve Trophy - it is something a bit different when you are just playing one other guy. We need a couple of events like that.

"I've had a rough idea of doing this for a number of years. We have the World Matchplay but that's only for the guys in the top 64.

"The Ryder Cup has become such an important part of the Tour I always thought a matchplay event would go down well, proper practice for the guys graduating to play in the Ryder Cup.

"We are winning more Ryder Cups than we are losing which is great to see and matchplay events like this will maintain and add to that record.

"I wanted the event to be straight knockout. It's more exciting. If you win you move on, if you lose you go home.

"I did suggest giving me a mulligan if I get knocked out at the first round. The reaction from the boys on Tour has been good.

"I haven't played a hell of lot this year so I've not had a huge chance to gauge who is going to play and who isn't as the schedules are still up in the air. But there's a lot of enthusiasm for it.

"A lot of the guys haven't played matchplay since their amateur days so they are looking forward to that. I have three events coming up and that's a chance to speak to the guys about playing."

We enough strokeplay events - will players' PAUL LAWRIE's new PS716,000 event, funded by the man himself and his sponsors Saltire Energy, has also received the support of his home city's football heroes.

Sir Alex Ferguson sent a message of support backing the initiative and Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson attended an event publicising the tournament yesterday at Murcar.

Lawrie added: "I've known Sir Alex since he was here. I had texted and asked him for a comment about the tournament and he has always been brand new about doing things like that. It's nice to have people like that who you can call on and it helps promote the event.

"Murcar will be good for matchplay. There are plenty of risk and reward holes. And if it's flat calm like any links course there will be lots of birdies.

"If it blows a bit, which we hope it does, then there will be some very challenging holes. It's in awesome condition at this time of the year and come July they will be in for a treat. If it is calm as I said there will be birdies and that's why I chose it.

have "We want it to be exciting, we want it to be close with birdies and we'll get that here.

- this capture imagination LAWRIE "We don't play a lot of links golf on the Tour and from the feedback people think it's brilliant to be coming back to a links course.

"So it sells itself in terms of what we are trying to put in place. But I'll also be speaking to a few players about that when I go back out.

"It is just really exciting to have my name on an event on the European Tour that has looked after me for so many years.

"The first tee might be a bit jittery on the opening day."

We have enough strokeplay events - this will capture players' imagination PAUL LAWRIE


MASTER STROKE Paul Lawrie says golf will benefit from his matchplay event launched at Murcar yesterday, right Pic: SNS Group
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 29, 2015
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