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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 21:13 GMT 22:13 UK
MBE caps great year for Lawrie
lawrie and staff
Lawrie is congratulated on his Open triumph
A year ago, very few people outside Scottish golfing circles would have been able to recognise Paul Lawrie if he walked by them in the street.

Following his Open triumph at Carnoustie last July, he has added his name to the history books and become almost as well-known as his compatriot, Colin Montgomerie.

His success has now been recognised with the award of an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

I've had a few nice awards this year and this ranks up there with the best.

Paul Lawrie MBE, Open champion
The Scot said the accolade ranked alongside any of his career achievements thus far.

"Obviously I'm delighted. It's a huge award to be given," he said.

"I've had a few nice awards this year and this ranks up there with the best. Winning the Open is a huge thing - if you're a golfer the thing you want to win is the Open.

"But receiving an MBE is up there as far as I'm concerned and I'm looking forward to receiving it."

Ryder Cup wins

Following his Open win, he made his debut in the Ryder Cup.

He struck the first drive of the tournament as he and Montgomerie helped Europe build a commanding lead with a convincing foursomes victory over Americans David Duval and Phil Mickelson.

As the USA overhauled the Europeans' lead on the final day, Lawrie stemmed the tide with a win over Jeff Maggert.

His performance could not prevent the Ryder Cup going to the Americans, but it was a cool and confident display by Lawrie.

Lawrie kisses the Claret jug
He left school at 17 to work as a taxi driver with his father, while playing golf at Banchory Golf Club near Aberdeen under the late Doug Smart.

There, he learned to master the unpredictable Scottish golf courses - a skill that would be of untold benefit in the future.

After his Open victory, he said: "I am 30, but I feel my career is just starting. I feel I can compete with the big guys now."

Despite reaching what may well prove to be the pinnacle of his career in 1999, he has also experienced disappointment in the past year.

Controversial sacking

Lawrie has failed to win since his victory at Carnoustie.

He was also at the centre of controversy when he sacked his caddy during a tournament.

Most recently, he was forced to pull out of the US Open because of a groin strain, which could yet rule him out of defending his own Open crown at St Andrews this July.

But he said he was looking forward to the event, and expressed optimism that he would be fit by then.

"I'm looking forward to the week. It will be a busy week, dealing with the media as defending champion, but it will be good."

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12 Jun 00 | Golf
Lawrie out of US Open