The European Tour and Paul Lawrie, the two-time Ryder Cup player and Scotland’s most recent Major Champion, today announced a new match play tournament, which will be part of The Race to Dubai for the next three years.
The inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play will take place at Murcar Links Golf Club, on the outskirts of Lawrie’s native Aberdeen, from July 30- August 2, 2015.
With a prize fund of €1million, it will pit 64 of the leading players on The Race to Dubai against each other in a straight knock out, match play contest.
A stalwart of The European Tour over the past 23 seasons, Lawrie will be the tournament host, with his management company, 4 Sports & Entertainment, promoting the event, and Saltire Energy, one of his own sponsors, as the title sponsor.
Saltire Energy has its headquarters in Portlethen, Aberdeen. It is a leading supplier of state-of-the-art drilling equipment to the global oil and gas industry. The company has experienced rapid growth and an increase in profit figures since it was established in 1986.
The Saltire Energy Group provides high quality oilfield rental equipment throughout the world, manufactured and inspected to the highest standards and backed up by first class service and support. It has sponsored Lawrie for the past three years and supported his foundation since 2008.
While his finest moment came in stroke play when he came from ten shots back to win The 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie, Lawrie has always held a strong affinity for match play, having represented Europe twice in The Ryder Cup.
He made a superb debut in the biennial contest two months after he lifted the Claret Jug, hitting the opening tee shot and claiming an impressive three and a half points, while he also played his part in the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ two years ago, defeating Brandt Snedeker in the Singles as Europe staged a dramatic comeback.
Individually, Lawrie also reached the last eight of the WGC-Match Play Championship in 2000, eventually losing to Tiger Woods on the 18th hole, and was third in the Volvo World Match Play two years ago.
Through the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play, the 45 year old is now giving other players the opportunity to gain vital match play experience on one of Scotland’s top links courses, hosting an event at the top level of European golf for the first time having previously supported the game at grassroots level through the Paul Lawrie Foundation.
Lawrie said: ‘I'm delighted to be announcing this new tournament and it's fantastic to be bringing another European Tour event to my home town of Aberdeen. Match play is a format that we don't get to play too often out on Tour, and so it's an exciting opportunity for an elite knockout tournament to come to Scotland.
“I'm extremely grateful to Mike Loggie of Saltire Energy for sharing my vision with this and for coming on board as the event's title sponsor, as without the backing of such sponsors, none of this would be possible.”
Mike Loggie, Chief Executive of Saltire Energy, said: “Saltire Energy has sponsored Paul Lawrie since 2011 and the company is delighted to have been approached to be the title sponsor for the Major Champion’s exciting new golf event. This event is sure to be well received and it is an excellent sporting event that we have secured for the North East.
“Saltire Energy is dedicated to supporting the local community in which it operates and has invested considerably in projects both locally within Aberdeen, but also internationally through the company’s Saltire in the Community programme. Adding this event to our Saltire in the Community portfolio further supports Saltire Energy in its vision to create a sense of community spirit and responsibility within the areas the company operates.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Paul Lawrie has been a strong and loyal supporter of The European Tour over the past three decades, as well as one of our finest players and ambassadors. We are therefore delighted that he is putting something back into the game at the highest level of European golf with this new match play event, on top of the commendable work he does at grassroots through the work of the Paul Lawrie Foundation.
“The Ryder Cup in Scotland was a huge success and demonstrated the appetite that Scottish golf fans have for match play golf, so we must thank Paul, along with Saltire Energy and 4Sports for helping this tournament to become part of The European Tour International Schedule.”
Marcus Day, the Head of the Global Golf Division of 4sports, said: “4sports are delighted to be working in conjunction with Paul and the European Tour to launch the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play. Paul has been a huge advocate for golf to youngsters across Scotland through the time he personally allocates to the Paul Lawrie Foundation, so to now have his own tour event in his home town of Aberdeen is another fantastic step in helping to promote the game. The support of local companies, such as Saltire Energy, is also vital to help Paul achieve this.”
Lawrie has close connections with Murcar Links Golf Club through his Foundation. The links course, which was established in 1909, hosted the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Northern Open earlier this year and the Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys Championship in 2012. It also hosted the inaugural Scottish Challenge on the European Challenge Tour in 2006.