Paul Lawrie has given his fellow Scottish professionals a major boost with the announcement that he will sponsor the 2014 Northern Open.
Through his eponymous Golf Centre in his native Aberdeen, the 1999 Open champion will put his name to the prestigious event, taking place this year at Murcar Links from June 17-19.
First staged in 1931, the Northern Open is one of the oldestp golf tournaments in the world and, along with the Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship, is one of only two 72-hole events on the Tartan Tour calendar this season.
Its return to Murcar also marks the tournament’s return the City of Aberdeen for the first time since 2001 and the support of the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre will result in an increased prize-fund of £35,000 for the 2014 championship.
“We are very happy to be able to support this championship, which has such a rich history,” said Lawrie. “I remember fondly playing in the Northern Open so it’s nice to be a part of that history.”
The secretary of the PGA in Scotland, Brian Mair, commented: “We are delighted to have agreed this deal. Paul’s involvement means so much in and around Aberdeen and we remain committed to taking the Tartan Tour to a new level.”
The deal is, initially, for one year but Mair added that it could be extended if it proves to be a success.
“It’s our intention to return the Northern Open to its former glories and to establish a rota of top quality host venues for the years to come,” he said.
“The idea was to grow the event year on year and we’ve done that" - Paul Lawrie
In a further boost for the Tartan Tour, it was confirmed that the Paul Lawrie Invitational, which has been held successfully at Deeside for the past three years, will become an Order of Merit event for PGA professionals in 2014.
The 54-hole event will again be staged at Deeside this season, from September 16-18, and will carry a prize fund of £40,000 – up £5,000 from 2013.
The change to an Order of Merit event rather than entry being purely by invitation necessitates a qualifying round for those who are not exempt for the tournament. This will be held at Royal Musselburgh Golf Club on August 4.
“My invitational was always designed to bring together some of the younger, up-and-coming talents in Scotland and give them the opportunity to test themselves against the best and most experienced PGA professionals and one or two guys playing at the highest levels of the game,” said Lawrie, who will amongst those taking part. “The idea was to grow the event year on year and we’ve done that. The fact it’s now an Order of Merit event on the Tartan Tour strengthens the schedule by adding a 54-hole tournament.”
Paul Lawrie Golf Centre: Find out more
Looking to improve your game? You could do a lot worse than visit the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, near Aberdeen. For more information, log-on to www.paullawriegolfcentre.co.uk