x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Lawrie talks up Olazabal

After Paul Lawrie had tacked a 69 to his opening 67 in the Johnnie Walker championship at Gleneagles, he did not take too long to switch from the subject of his own golf to next year's Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

GLENEAGLES, SCOTLAND // After Paul Lawrie had tacked a 69 to his opening 67 in the Johnnie Walker championship at Gleneagles, he did not take too long to switch from the subject of his own golf to next year's Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. He made it plain that Colin Montgomerie, the European captain, would be presiding over a weaker side were he not to enlist the services of Jose Maria Olazabal as one of his vice-captains.

"I played with Ollie when he was the captain of the Royal Trophy earlier this year and I thought he was absolutely brilliant," said Lawrie. "I've played under Monty in the Seve Trophy a few times and under Mark James at the Ryder Cup - and I would have said that Ollie was outstanding, the job he did in January. He left notes in our lockers and was fantastic on course. I can't tell you how good he was. He was just a different class."

Montgomerie, who would not necessarily have enjoyed hearing all of the above, has in fact approached Olazabal to be a vice-captain but the Spaniard indicated he is still more interested in heading for Wales as a player. Meanwhile Danny Lee, 18, playing in his first European Tour event, is lying on 143 and close enough to the lead to be thinking of the possibility of a Perth double. When he won the Johnnie Walker in Perth Australia at the start of the season, the then still amateur Lee played through endless sunshine.

Here, it has been wet and windy but it is more to his liking. "I much prefer playing in wind and rain," explained the Korean-New Zealander. "When it's hot, I get too hot and bothered and can be mad at myself." sports@thenational.ae