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It must be Love for Lawrie despite a tiff

By Mark Garrod

If things go well for Paul Lawrie in the next month he and American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love will be seeing quite a bit of each other.

Their pairing in the first two rounds of The Open also revives memories, though, of when Love felt the need to speak to the Scot when they were drawn together at Royal Troon in 2004.

Back at Carnoustie five years earlier, when the talk all week was about the ferocity of the rough, Love was quoted as saying after 159th-ranked Lawrie won that the event “got the champion it deserved”.

The 43-year-old from Aberdeen recalled Love approaching him.

“What he was alleged to have said was in the press again on the Tuesday at Troon because the pairings had come out,” Lawrie said.

“He came to me and said: ‘I just need you to know I never said it. I wouldn't say that about a fellow PGA professional'.

“I said: ‘no problem'. It's never been a problem.”

Lawrie is currently third in the race for places in Jose Maria Olazabal's side for September's match in Chicago.

If he qualifies at the end of next month it would be his first cap since 1999. Only Christy O'Connor Jnr has gone longer between appearances — his debut was in 1975 and he next played in 1989.

Meanwhile, England's Warren Bennett returns to The Open after a 10-year gap this week — 10 years in which all his dreams appeared dashed and he became a European Tour caddie just to try to keep a foothold.

The 40-year-old former Tour winner, leading amateur in the championship way back in 1994, feared his playing days were over after a succession of injuries.

But he refused to give up and now, after two stages of qualifying, he is at Royal Lytham.

“I've come back because there'd be too much regret if I didn't,” Warren said.

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