Paul Lawrie, a two-time Ryder Cup player, has been named as Team Europe’s captain for next year’s Junior Ryder Cup in Wisconsin, writes Martin Dempster.
The proud PGA Professional said he is ‘absolutely delighted’ to have been appointed in the post, having been heavily involved in junior golf since launching the Paul Lawrie Foundation in 2001.
Mainly in the north-east, the Foundation has provided opportunities for youngsters to start playing golf, with products including European Tour winner David Law and Sam Locke, the leading amateur in last year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
“As soon as the call came in, I didn’t need long to think about taking on the role,” said Lawrie. “To be able to lead a team of the best juniors in Europe against America will be a completely novel experience for me. In terms of how I see the game growing, it’s an important role.
“It’s going to be full-on over the next ten months. I’m really looking forward to getting to some events during the year and watching the kids play.”
The eight-time European Tour winner made his Ryder Cup debut at Brookline in 1999 before bridging a 13-year gap to be part of the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ team in 2012.
He beat Brandt Snedeker 5&3 in the last-day singles in Chicago as Jose Maria Olazabal’s side staged a monumental comeback to win 14½-13½.
The Junior Ryder Cup sees the best male and female junior amateurs from Europe and the USA go head-to-head in a mixed event.
The biennial contest has seen many stars from world golf feature in the junior competition before excelling at the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup.
Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy both succeeded in the event before also winning The Ryder Cup, while Suzanne Peterson and Carlota Ciganda both triumphed as amateurs before lifting the Solheim Cup.
“My wife, Marian, and I started the Foundation to get as many kids into the game as we possibly could,” added Lawrie. “I bring a huge enthusiasm for junior golf to the role; it’s where the game needs to be – sadly that still gets lost on some members at golf clubs not treating juniors how they deserve to be treated.
“Today’s juniors are tomorrow’s adults, and that’s an important message.”
The 2020 Junior Ryder Cup will be played at Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Milwaukee from September 21-22.