Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Lawrie stunned by Open drama
Lawrie: Handled pressure from qualifying to play-off
New Open champion Paul Lawrie will enjoy a hero's return to his club this week after his "fairy story" victory at Carnoustie.
The 30-year-old is the first Scot to win the Open on home soil since 1910, and first to triumph anywhere since Sandy Lyle at Sandwich in 1985.
"I always knew he could do it," said George Mitchell.
Lawrie revealed he did not share his captain's confidence - or that of his coach.
"It feels really good and I can't believe it. I am going to cry," he warned.
"My coach Adam Hunter kept saying I'd make the play-off but I thought no way."
Last chance success
A final round of 67 had taken him into the play-off but a run of four under par on the final nine holes of his qualifying round had saved him in the first place.
The sky is the limit for the new champion, who will never have to qualfiy for the Open again - and can look forward to at least two big transatlantic trips.
Finishing in the top four ensured him a ticket to the Masters in Atlanta next year, while he is now second in the Ryder Cup standings.
Lawrie also revealed that the unfortunate Van de Velde was a lucky charm for him.
"I played with Jean when I won in Qatar and he is a cracking guy," he said.
"Anyone who watched the play-off would have seen him cracking jokes with the crowd.
For a man who threw the title away, Van de Velde was in good spirits.
"Don't be so sad!" he told the world's media.
"I made plenty of friends out there...I let a Scottish man win."
Van de Velde also defended his bizarre performance at the 18th hole, where he hit a grandstand, water and a bunker, before going paddling.
"When I got in it started to sink...it was trying to tell me something."
But the Frenchman was keen to put it all into perspective.
"There are worse things in life. I read the newspapers this morning and some terrible things happen to people."