Off The Ball: Peter Lawrie's pain at prospect of 'shutdown' all too clear
It's not often a sportsperson looks you in the eye and says, "If I was a business, which in many respects I am, you would shut me down". But that's where Peter Lawrie is right now. And that's how he surmised his career prospects in studio on Sunday. He is a man in examinership.
After 10 fruitful years on the European Tour, where he finished comfortably inside the Order of Merit Top 100 every season, Lawrie hit a wall in 2013. His driving deserted him. He didn't know if the ball was headed left or right - the least manageable of golfing afflictions. In his own words, "I've never really recovered".
He lost his card in 2014 and spent 2015 trying to win it back, relying on invites and goodwill to get into tournaments. Fellow pros like Paul McGinley and Rory McIlroy canvassed on his behalf.
Their generosity was greatly appreciated, but other pros on tour weren't so forgiving. Lawrie admitted having to confront several of them throughout the season; a few told him to his face he was getting too many invites. Naturally, it proved "very difficult to play with that on a week to week basis".
The worst part of course was the voice in his head telling him they had a point. "That voice was bashing me like a sledgehammer," he said.
The recent horrors of Q-School offered no respite and so Lawrie told us: "I'm at a crossroads. Should I continue on or should I do something else? If you were to look at the cold hard facts, you'd shut me down."
Based on his 2015 results, he can play close to 20 tournaments on the European Tour next year, on merit too. The plan is to do some hard thinking over Christmas. His driving woes returned a few weeks ago in South Africa, which was a brutal blow to the psyche. Golf is the most volatile of sports. Form changes quickly. Calling time on yourself is doubly difficult. Expect the business to stay open for a little while yet.