European Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal has credited Paul Lawrie for his remarkable return to form, which is likely to earn the Scotsman a spot in the Team for the contest against the United States in September.
Lawrie, who will play with Olazábal in the first two rounds of the ISPS Handa Wales Open this week, has played some of the best golf of his career in the past 14 months, winning the Open de Andalucía in March 2011 and the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy in February, and notching numerous other top ten finishes, including a runner-up spot at last week’s BMW PGA Championship.
His superb run of results has left him second in the Ryder Cup European Points List, and with less than three months to go until the end of the qualifying period, he is looking odds-on to be on the plane to Medinah Country Club.
Olazábal said of the 1999 Open Champion: “If he plays just decent golf from now on, I'm pretty sure he will be on the team. From what I've seen of him through the years, he’s always been a steady player.
“His short game is good and his putting is good, but it's true that in the last few years he has struggled a bit with his game. But somehow he's got it back. He's got the confidence back. We know that he's a fighter. So I think his character on the golf course is pretty good.
“I think it's worse when you've been there, you've played great golf and all of a sudden you've lost your confidence. Trying to regain that is tough. I've been through that and I’m still going through it, and I have to take my hat off to him, because the last part of the last season was extraordinary for him. He played really well and he has kept that level through these years. It's good to see.”
Lawrie has made one previous Ryder Cup appearance, winning three and a half points for Europe at Brookline in 1999.