I had been playing well all season—I won the Qatar Masters in February—but no one seemed to notice me until my victory in the Open Championship in July. When I beat Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde in a four-hole playoff at Carnoustie, my life was turned upside down.
I don't know if my older son, Craig Robert, 4�, understands what I did—he still kisses the television when I come on—but a lot of other people seem to. I used to hear people say, "There's Paul Lawrie," as I walked past. Now they come up with slips of paper and ask me to sign. I get asked for autographs more in the U.S. than back home in Aberdeen, Scotland, where I'm one of two touring pros. (Scott Henderson is the other.)
Aberdeen is not a huge place (population 218,000), and just about everybody there knew who I was before the Open. Only now they're going ballistic. My wife, Marian, and I went shopping recently, and suddenly the store was filled with people. It was fantastic. The press and everyone else are worried that I'm going to play in the U.S. full time, and wonder if I'm going to continue to live in Aberdeen. Trust me, I'll always live in Aberdeen, where I was born. I also plan to continue to play the European tour. My schedule may have changed—by winning the Open, I got into the PGA, two World Golf Championship events, the Ryder and Dunhill Cups, the Grand Slam, the Million Dollar Challenge and the World Match Play at Wentworth—but I won't change.
Marian, who was at home with our newborn, Michael, during the Open, taped the tournament, and I've watched it a half-dozen times. The official tape has just arrived, and I look forward to seeing it when I get home. In a few years Craig Robert will watch it with me, and by then we'll both have a better understanding of what I've done.