SEVILLE, Spain (AP) - Scotland's Paul Lawrie is skipping the U.S. Open, citing his poor performances in the major championship.
The 1999 British Open champion, ranked 43rd in the world, automatically qualified for the June event at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Lawrie said he will take time off and focus on the BMW International Open in Cologne the following week.
"My record in the U.S. Open is not good and 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," Lawrie said Wednesday at the Spanish 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."
He won the Qatar Masters in February.
Lawrie said the U.S. Open course setups don't suit his game. He has played the event four times _ from 2001 to 2004 _ managing to make the cut in 2002 at Bethpage Black.
"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 is to make the Ryder Cup team, so he needed to organize a schedule in a bid to earn 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 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 clothes, then prepare to play the opening two rounds 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."
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