Paul Lawrie is relishing the prospect of hosting the Scottish Senior Open in his home city.
Royal Aberdeen will provide the setting for the 2021 Scottish Senior Open when the Legends Tour returns to the venue for the first time in 26 years from September 10-12.
The Balgownie links previously held the first three editions of the Scottish Senior Open from 1993-1995, the 2005 Senior Open, the 2011 Walker Cup and the 2014 Scottish Open.
Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion and an honorary member of Royal Aberdeen, will be the defending champion after winning his first senior title at the 2019 Scottish Senior Open at Craigielaw.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to it. Royal Aberdeen is one of our best courses.
“It’s brilliant and I will be able to sleep in my own bed that week, which will make it even better, as that’s not often the case when you are competing.
“We are looking forward to a great week on a fabulous golf course.
“We won’t know until entries open how strong the field will be, but the venue will attract some players.
“Hopefully we will get the best of the European players in the field.
“I remember going to watch the 2005 Senior Open when Tom Watson beat Des Smyth in a play-off.
“It looked amazing. It was a great week when Justin Rose won the Scottish Open in 2014 and everyone loved the course.
“The Legends Tour should be playing on a course like this. It has the makings of a great week.”
Lawrie hopes the event will attract a decent crowd, providing spectators are permitted to attend golf events by September.
He said: “You would hope by September people will be able to come along and enjoy the golf.
“The Legends Tour is brilliant for that because you can get up close to the action.
“You can have a bit of interaction with the players and meet some of those players who you might have looked up to as a golfer.
“Let’s hope spectators get in, because I think it would make it a lot better. I think there would be a good atmosphere and a decent crowd if it is allowed.
“It was really nice that my first win as a senior was in Scotland.
“I only played nine or 10 events in 2019.
“I’m looking forward to defending and it doesn’t get any better than defending your home senior title in your home city.
“I’m pretty excited about it already.
“In terms of fitness, I have lost a bit of weight, so I’m feeling pretty good. I have lost over a stone.
“My back isn’t great, but I’ve been playing some rounds of golf with my son Craig.
“I’m looking forward to being competitive and trying to win some events on the Legends Tour.
“I should be fully fit in the next few weeks.”
‘We hope fans will be able to attend’
Richard Noble, captain of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the Scottish Senior Open to Balgownie Links in September 2021, with a field including 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, who will be defending the title he won at Craigielaw in 2019.
“We hope that by September fans will be able to attend the event and support the venue as they have done in the past, when we have proudly been host to The Senior Open, Scottish Open, the Walker Cup and The Amateur Championship.”
Mark Aspland, head of the Legends Tour, said: “We are incredibly excited to be returning to Royal Aberdeen for the first time in 26 years for the 2021 Scottish Senior Open hosted by Paul Lawrie.
“It is a club steeped in history and is a true gem in a country which is inundated with outstanding golf courses. We thought it was important to take this event somewhere which means something to Paul, as tournament host, and having a venue of such stature on his doorstep makes complete sense.
“Paul will be a fantastic host and I am sure he will be working closely with Keith Grant and his team at Royal Aberdeen to ensure we enjoy a brilliant event in September.”