Paul Lawrie faces 'mental battle' in return to golf after eight months out

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Paul Lawrie in action last April
Paul Lawrie has not played competitive golf since the Trophee Hassan II in Morroco last year

Paul Lawrie says he still has a "mental battle" to overcome as he prepares to return to competitive golf after eight months out through injury.

The 1999 Open champion had surgery last summer on his foot and also suffered a back problem.

Although he feels physically fit, he admits that the injuries have affected his confidence.

"Physically my foot is 100%. I'm getting there," said Lawrie.

"The injury is good. The foot has been brilliant.

"I have had a little problem with the confidence of going on to my foot. Not because its not ready, but just because I've had an operation and mentally I've been backing out of it when I play.

"It's been a mental battle more than anything else. My back is not great because I've not played a lot of golf. So I will play in Oman next week, then Qatar, and see where we are then.

"I've had an eight-month break and I'm now dying to get back playing golf."

Lawrie will make his competitive return to golf next week in Oman, his first tournament since April last year.

Now 50, the Aberdonian is eligible to play Seniors golf, joining the likes of Colin Montgomerie and Bernard Langer.

And he "will back himself" to be a success when he joins the Senior Tour, adding that it will now likely dominate his schedule.

"They beat me my whole career so I am not saying I'm going over there to clear up," said Lawrie.

"The standard over there is very, very high. Monty [Montgomerie] thinks I will do OK, but I know the competition is fierce at every level. But if I'm fit I will back myself to try and win a few events.

"It will be exciting to get out there and try and nick a few events."

He added: "I have a few invites lined up in America. Not an awful lot, but they play for good money over there with 54 holes.

This summer will mark the 20th anniversary of his Open Championship success at Carnoustie and his plan is to play in this year's event at Royal Portrush.

Before then, he will host a Celebrity PRO-AM at Gleneagles with the aim of raising a six-figure sum for three charities: Paul Lawrie Foundation, My Name'5 Doddie Foundation and Beatson Cancer Charity.

Lawrie hopes many of the Pros who will be playing in the Scottish Open the previous week will attend, with a number of celebrities already confirming they will play.

"I'm just trying to get all the celebrities tied up," he said. "So far I have had a lovely response from Neil Lennon. I couldn't not have my all-time favourite footballer Willie Miller.

"Gordon Strachan, Len Goodman, the Evans brothers [Max and Tom], Rory Lawson, and there is a pile of people still to get back to me."


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