Paul Lawrie thrilled at qualification for Ryder Cup

Scotland’s Paul Lawrie is delighted to have ensured a return to the Ryder Cup arena, 13 years after his first outing in the biennial contest with the USA.

“It feels unbelievable. I feel good about it,” said Lawrie, who qualifies fourth on the European points table.

“At 43 years of age, to play in the Ryder Cup again is pretty special.

“I’ve put a lot of work in over the last couple of years: on my game, on my fitness, on the mental side, on the putting. My focus has been better.”

And the Aberdonian, preparing for this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship, added: “I have been working pretty hard so it feels as though it has been two years getting back into it.

“My focus is on the here and now, though, and that continues with playing well here at Gleneagles.”

Nine of the 10 automatic qualifiers for Europe are now known: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Lawrie, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Peter Hanson and Sergio Garcia.

Martin Kaymer currently occupies the last qualification spot, with Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Nicolas Colsaerts and David Lynn all in with a chance of overtaking the German if they perform well at Gleneagles.

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal then has two wildcards to hand out for this year’s event at Medinah Country Club, Illinois.

Lawrie played in the losing European team when the Ryder Cup was held at Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1999, the year of his Open triumph.

He combined with fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie in the fourballs and foursomes, winning one match, halving one and losing one.

Lawrie made sure he finished with a positive record, with a 4&3 success against Jeff Maggert in one of just three European wins in the singles.

A strong start to this season saw Lawrie win the Qatar Masters , while a second place at Wentworth’s PGA Championship and reaching the semi-finals at the World Match Play Championship maintained his lofty standing in the rankings.

He failed to make the cut at July’s Scottish Open but aims to fare better on home soil this week.

“This is my twelfth Johnnie Walker Championship and it’s a tournament I really enjoy,” Lawrie said.

“I really hope the Scottish golf fans are out in force and enjoy the golf on show.”