The Loop

Paul Lawrie is turning back the clock at St. Andrews

July 16, 2015

That Paul Lawrie should begin the 144th Open Championship with a 6-under round of 66 over the Old Course at St. Andrews was surprising. And yet not surprising.

The 2014-'15 European Tour season has not been kind to the man who was the biggest beneficiary of Jean Van de Velde's infamous largesse at Carnoustie in 1999. In 10 starts, the 46-year old Scot has only once cracked the top-20 -- on three occasions he has failed to complete 72-holes. His putting, once a strength of his game, has been inconsistent at best, close to hopeless at its nadir.

On the other hand, Lawrie must be close to the best player in the world while wearing a waterproof jacket. While he was quick to knock on the head any notion that he can only play well in foul conditions -- " I never wish for it to blow a gale or pour with rain" -- there is no doubt that he handles meteorological adversity better than most.