Open champion victim of schoolboy error

A freak injury could prevent Paul Lawrie defending his Open golf title, won in such dramatic circumstances at Carnoustie last year. Lawrie was hit on the left wrist by a club while coaching a group of youngsters yesterday, just two days before the start of the 129th Open over the Old Course at St Andrews.

A freak injury could prevent Paul Lawrie defending his Open golf title, won in such dramatic circumstances at Carnoustie last year. Lawrie was hit on the left wrist by a club while coaching a group of youngsters yesterday, just two days before the start of the 129th Open over the Old Course at St Andrews.

Lawrie, 31, drove down from his home in Aberdeen and handed back the silver claret jug to officials of the Royal and Ancient. But his chances of repositioning it on the mantelpiece on Sunday were reduced before he had even ventured on to the course.

Lawrie was giving a lesson to a Golf Foundation competition winner in the junior golf tent in the exhibition village. A youngster caught Lawrie's left wrist during his backswing. Lawrie immediately went to the European Tour's physiotherapy unit for treatment and cancelled a practice round.

The wrist was bandaged but Lawrie will have to wait to see if there is any reaction when he attempts to play this morning. He has no intention of pulling out of the championship, however. "I've got a bit of swelling but I've had ice treatment and hopefully it will go down tonight. I normally only have one practice round so it's not going to do me any damage."

Lawrie became the first Scot for more than 100 years to win the Open in Scotland after Jean Van de Velde's extraordinary collapse on the final hole at Carnoustie. The Frenchman needed a six at the 18th to win and took seven, including a visit to the Barry Burn. Lawrie won the subsequent play-off.

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