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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 11:13 GMT
Lawrie bemoans Open recognition
Paul Lawrie
Lawrie won a three-way play-off for the Open in 1999
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie insists he has never achieved the recognition he deserves for winning the title at Carnoustie in 1999.

The Scot, Europe's last major winner, won the Open after beating American Justin Leonard and France's Jean van de Velde in a play-off.

The event, though, will be remembered for Van de Velde squandering a three-shot lead on the final hole.

"I'm a major winner and I've never had that respect," Lawrie told Five Live.

"It doesn't sit kindly with me and it's difficult sometimes. But we don't play tournaments over 71 holes, we play them over 72 holes and the Claret Jug [a replica] is in my sitting room at home.

"It has my name on it and I look at it every day, and no matter what anyone says, it's not leaving."

If I never win another tournament or never play golf again, I'll still be proud of what I achieved that week

Paul Lawrie

Lawrie, 38, will return to the scene of his triumph this July when Carnoustie again hosts the Open.

Eight years ago, he carded a final-round 67 for six over and watched as Van de Velde, in the final group, amassed a triple-bogey seven via the rough, the grandstand and the burn in front of the green to join a play-off.

Lawrie and Leonard then shared bogey fives to Van de Velde's six on the 15th, the first of four extra holes, while the trio parred the 16th. Lawrie birdied 17, as did Van de Velde, but the Scot also birdied 18 to lift the title.

Jean van de Velde
Van de Velde went paddling in the Barry Burn in 1999

"I suppose the way it happened didn't help, but I remember Ray Floyd handing Nick Faldo a Masters and I didn't read that Floyd gave him the Masters, I read that Faldo won it," said Lawrie.

"Maybe you've got to win more than one of them before they give you credit for it.

"You only read Faldo is a six-time major winner, which he is, he's been a great champion and I respect him for his career, but you don't see the press writing that he was handed two or three out of his six.

"But that's life. It doesn't affect me any more. I get on with it, I do my job and I go home to my kids. And it won't get any different until I win another one. I hope that day's coming soon."

606: DEBATE
Lawrie won the Qatar Masters the same season and triumphed in the 2001 Dunhill Links Championship and the Wales Open in 2002, the last of his five European Tour victories.

But his best Open finish has been 42nd in 2001, though he was 15th at the Masters in 2003.

"I'll always be extremely proud of what I achieved that week and if I never win another tournament or never play golf again, I'll still be proud of what I achieved, so nobody will ever take that away from me," he said.

SEE ALSO
City plans Lawrie tribute
20 Jul 99 |  UK News
Lawrie wins dramatic Open
19 Jul 99 |  Golf


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