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By Ryan Herrington
Paul Lawrie will forever be linked to Carnoustie after his fateful playoff victory there at the 1999 Open Championship. But an anticipated return to the site of the biggest triumph in the 48-year-old Scotsman’s eight-win European Tour career apparently is not meant to be. The R&A announced on Sunday that Lawrie has withdrawn from the Open later this month due to injury. Ryan Moore will replace him in the field.
Left unsaid in the R&A release is the long-standing foot and back injuries that Lawrie has been struggling with. He hasn’t played on the European Tour since late April at the Trophee Hassan II. He has made just six Euro Tour starts in 2018, making the cut only twice and finished T-61 both times.
Diagnosing his herniated disc has been easy compared to figuring out his foot ailment. Those close to Lawrie say he’s OK to walk, but that hitting shots off any kind of slopes results in pain.
Lawrie recently flew to Munich to meet with the doctor who helped Jose Maria Olazabal rehabilitate his own foot injuries, but nothing that had been offered seem to be helping.
Lawrie’s absence will hardly prevent the retelling in the coming weeks of his improbable win at Carnoustie 19 years ago. Lawrie came from 10 strokes off the lead in the final round, shot a closing 67 and got into playoff with Jean Van de Velde and Justin Leonard after Van de Velde made a disastrous triple-bogey 7 on the 72nd hole. Lawrie proceeded to win the playoff with an even-par score over the four holes while Van de Velde and Leonard finished at three over.