Golf

Lawrie decides not to contest the US Open

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SEVILLE, Spain (AP)

Scotland's Paul Lawrie is turning down the opportunity to further cement his Ryder Cup claims by not contesting the U.S. Open.

The former British Open champion, ranked No. 43 in the world, is assured of automatically qualifying for the second major of the season - starting June 14 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco - but has cited his poor performances in prior U.S. Opens for sitting out this year's tournament.

Instead, Lawrie will take time off and focus on the BMW International Open at Cologne the following week.

''My record in the U.S. Open is not good,'' Lawrie said Wednesday. ''I understand that it is a Major but I feel I have more chance of playing well at the BMW International Open the week after the U.S. Open than in a U.S. Open.

''I know people are going to be surprised ... but I stand more chance of earning Ryder Cup points at the BMW in Cologne then in the U.S. Open in California.''

Lawrie said the set up of the U.S. Open courses doesn't suit his game. He has contested the U.S. Open just four times - from 2001 to 2004 - managing to make the halfway cut in one, the 2002 championship at Bethpage Park in New York.

''That year everyone was shooting low despite the weather,'' he said. ''So it's a decision I had been thinking about for a long time and I knew it was going to be an issue but if you know you can't compete in a particular tournament, then why go?''

Lawrie said his goal was to make the Ryder Cup team, so he needed to organize a schedule that would earn him the most points.

''So not playing the U.S. Open, and instead playing the following week in Cologne, is better for me,'' he said.

The buildup to the Spanish Open this week has been less than ideal for Lawrie, who arrived in Seville without his luggage after taking three flights in transit from the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea. He planned to buy some new clothes and then prepare to play the opening two rounds of the tournament with European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

''You always learn something playing alongside Jose Maria as he is one of the short-game masters,'' Lawrie said. ''I've played with him many times before so I am looking forward to the next two days.''

Tagged: Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul Lawrie

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