Lawrie ends 12-year coach partnership to spark 'change'
PETER LAWRIE has made changes in his bid to arrest a dizzying tailspin.
The Dubliner has parted from Brendan McDaid, his coach for 12 years, and goes into today's first round of the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship with new caddie, Ulsterman Owen O'Neill, at his side.
"There're a lot of changes going on," said Lawrie during a pause in his work with South African swing coach Jamie Clough on the range yesterday.
Former Spanish Open champion Lawrie, who was European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2003, went within a whisker of losing his card in 2013 after an unbroken 11 years on the circuit.
It took a fighting top-18 finish in the last event of the regular season in Perth, Western Australia, in October to save himself after a harrowing nine missed cuts in 10 events.
Lawrie then failed to make the weekend in three events in the run-up to Christmas. "I really thought I was going nowhere, so things had to change," he explained.
"So that's why I've taken the step I have. Brendan and I have been together a long time and we remain good friends. Ending a partnership like ours is tough, but this is a business and you can't be afraid of change."
"All good things come to an end," said Corkman McDaid, one of Ireland's foremost instructors. "It's been a great experience. I've learned a lot off Peter and I'm sure he learned off me. I wish him all the best."
Lawrie's new year's resolution is "to eat better and try to be fitter because last year, and particularly in the middle of the season, I was dead on my feet. I'm looking after myself much better now."
Waterford's impressive Q-School graduate Kevin Phelan (23), one of 11 Irish competing this week in Abu Dhabi after receiving a sponsor's invite, has received an early introduction to the hazards of life on Tour.
Phelan's luggage went missing somewhere in New York JFK as he rushed to make his connection to Abu Dhabi after the flight from his Florida base in Jacksonville was delayed.
His golf bag arrived on Tuesday, mercifully with his golf shoes inside, but Phelan's suitcase, containing all his clothes and, pointedly, his contact lenses, has vanished, according to Etihad.
Oakley smartly fitted Phelan out for the tournament, though sadly without the logo of new sponsors, Dublin investment house FL Partners.
Simon Dyson's clothing bore no sponsor's branding yesterday as the Englishman prepared for his first tournament since receiving a suspended two-month suspension for tapping down a spike mark on the line of his putt at October's BMW Masters.