Paul Lawrie is aiming to join an elite group of legendary golfers to have lifted both The Open and the Senior Open.
Only Tom Watson, Gary Player and Bob Charles have lifted both coveted titles.
Lawrie, who will celebrate his 51st birthday tomorrow, famously lifted the Old Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1999 and has set his sights on doing the double by winning the Senior Open at Sunningdale next July.
Lawrie said: “My goal is to win a Senior major and it would be fantastic to add the Senior Open to my Open title.
“It would be amazing to match a feat that has only been achieved by Tom Watson, Gary Player and Bob Charles.
“Not even Jack Nicklaus managed to win the Senior Open, which is hard to believe.
“It would be give me a great sense of personal satisfaction to have both titles under my belt.
“It might not happen next year but it will still be a lovely goal to have – to be associated with those three great players of the game.”
That goal seemed out of Lawrie’s reach just over a year ago when he feared he might never play again after battling back and foot injuries.
However, after surgery and months of patience, Lawrie went on to show his class by winning the Scottish Senior Open at Craigielaw in August. “I’m indebted to my surgeon Gordon Mackay and physio Stuart Barton, as I didn’t think I would ever win again,” he said.
“The first time that I felt 100% was in July at the Seniors Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes where I finished tied for 16th.”
Just a few weeks later Lawrie threw off the shackles of rustiness to achieve his fourth-biggest win in Scotland – behind The Open, 1999 Dunhill Links Championship and 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship – with success in the national Seniors event.
Defying the worst of the windy conditions, Lawrie closed with a level-par 71 to beat England’s Peter Baker and Australian Peter Fowler by two shots.
Lawrie, who won £37,500, said: “I played really well in difficult conditions.
“It was the first time I had been in contention to win anything since the Dimension Data on the Sunshine Tour two years ago. I handled it pretty well and enjoyed being out in front. I felt really comfortable and always thought I was going to win.
“I hit the right shots at the right time down the stretch, which is what you have got to do to win.”
Despite that success, Lawrie is frustrated by the loss of a two-year exemption on the Champions Tour in America he had earned due to his Open win. The exemption was wiped out 18 months ago and Lawrie was this year left to ask for entries to the US Senior events.
Unfortunately, those requests fell on deaf ears and the only invites he did receive came through personal contacts associated with the tournaments.
Lawrie said: “It’s frustrating to go from a two-year exemption to no exemption at all.
“My requests were all noted and that I was on the list but I heard nothing more from every event.
“The only two invites which I did get were through two friends – George Booth, who managed to get me into the Insperity Invitational in Houston, and Bill Aitchison, who sourced a place in the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Alabama.”
Lawrie carefully thought over his options when the US Senior qualifying was staged last month and he instead chose to play in Mauritius and finished tied seventh in the MCB Tour Championship.
Lawrie added: “The Champions Tour is a difficult tour to get into and they don’t invite many Europeans or other players from around world. But I will have at least four tournaments on the Champions Tour though.
“I’ve again been invited to play in the Insperity Invitational in May, which is nice of them.
“I will also take in the Senior PGA Championship, Senior US Open and the Senior Open at Sunningdale.”
Lawrie will also focus on the European Tour and the Staysure Tour throughout the rest of the season.