The Scottish golfer who won The Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999, Paul Lawrie OBE, is the 2015 recipient of the PGA Recognision Award
Paul collected the award, for his outstanding contribution to golf, at the PGA’s annual fund-raising lunch at the Grosvenor House hotel in London.
As a young golfer he qualified as a PGA Professional before establishing himself on tour, and has tasted many career highlights, including winning the Open and as a key member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team at the Miracle of Medinah in 2012.
But despite his personal success, Paul has always found time to support golf in Scotland both at grass roots with the Paul Lawrie Foundation and up to elite level where he is a mentor to a number of promising players in their bid to succeed on tour. The foundation also supports a number of other sports.
Despite winning arguably golf’s greatest tournament, and playing a vital part in one of the most memorable Ryder Cups ever, thoughts of playing tour golf were not a high priority for a teenage Lawrie.
But his fledgling talent was spotted by the late Banchory pro Doug Smart during one of Paul’s outings with the taxi drivers of Aberdeen – one of whom was his dad who owned a cab firm.
Eagle-eyed Smart was impressed by the young Lawrie and hinted to his father that a potential career route with The PGA beckoned.
From raw beginnings, Lawrie turned himself into one of the finest ball-strikers on tour and with 25 years on tour under his belt, can reflect on an impressive career which has brought eight European Tour wins and most memorably his famous Open triumph at Carnoustie in 1999.
An Honorary Life Member of the European Tour, Lawrie’s commitment to golf was highlighted this year by hosting his own Tour event - the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play at Murcar Links.
“I’m honoured to receive the PGA’s Recognition Award as I’m proud to be a member of The PGA,” said Paul who joins an illustrious list of names to have won the award including the late Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and current Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke.
“I started my career as an assistant at Banchory, training under Doug Smart, and learned skills that I still put in to practise today.
“It means a great deal that the work that my wife Marian and I have done building the Foundation to the level it is at today is being recognised by The Association, alongside my playing career.”
Sandy Jones, PGA chief executive, said: “I’m delighted that Paul has received the PGA Recognition Award. Having known him since he was a young PGA assistant, I know how hard he has worked to scale the heights of the game and no-one deserves their success more than him.
“What is even more remarkable is his determination and dedication to give something back to the sport through the Paul Lawrie Foundation.
“He is a credit to the PGA, the European Tour and the wider game of golf.”
Money raised from the lunch will go towards the PGA Bevenolent Fund which goes towards helping PGA Members who have fallen on difficult times.
PGA Captain Nicky Lamb presents Paul Lawrie with the PGA Recognition Award. Tom Dulat/Getty Images.