By Brian Keogh

Des Smyth wants trio Peter Lawrie, Gary Murphy and Damien McGrane to live up to their potential and win in 2008.

Lawrie, McGrane and Murphy will tee off their 2008 campaigns in next week's megabucks Abu Dhabi Championship.

And Champions Tour star Smyth firmly believes they are good enough to step up and become multiple winners like Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell.

Smyth won eight times in a 29-year European Tour career and still holds the record as the oldest champion following his 2001 victory in Madeira at 48.

Just a month away from his 54th birthday, he's still hungry to add to his victory haul.

But he also wants to see Ireland's winless threesome throw off their journeyman tags and break into the winner's circle.

Smyth said: "I once told Peter Lawrie that rewards come to the guys who win golf tournaments and he is a good enough player to win.

"And Gary Murphy and Damien McGrane are also really good players - but they need to win. That is the only thing they haven't done yet.

"They are mixing with the big guys and they are performing very strongly. But they really do need to win a tournament to step up to the next level."

Smyth knows how tough it is to win after going two seasons without adding to his brace of victories on the Champions Tour.

But despite struggling at times in 2007, he still managed to lift the Wentworth Senior Masters on a rare visit to the European Seniors Tour.

Recognising how tough it is to win, Smyth added: "I am not saying that it is easy to do it. The hardest thing to do, if you haven't won, is to win your first tournament.

"But the three players I have mentioned, I believe they have served their time and they are all ready.

"They are smashing fellas and they are working hard but for their own careers, it is time to do it. And I think that Peter knows that."

Lawrie, 33, brushed off his winter cobwebs with a "warm-weather" practice session with coach Brendan McDaid in Portugal this week.

And he is well aware that as he enters his 11th season as a professional, the time has come to lift some silverware.

Rookie of the Year in 2003, Lawrie came close to ending his victory drought in last season's Mallorca Classic but was forced to settle for a share of fifth place as Gregory Bourdy became the 18th first time winner on tour last year.

But he confessed this week that he will be disappointed if he finishes his career without winning multiple times.

He said: "Anybody can win at any given time. That's the thing about the European Tour. You can never rest on your laurels. You always have to be learning and trying to move on with everyone else.

"The better you get, the more chances you will give yourself of winning. So the idea is to keep on improving and give myself more chances."

Lawrie has earned €1,941,777 since 2003 - a strike rate of almost €12,000 for each of his 162 tournament appearances.

But he knows that he cannot judge his game on the euro and cent in his bank account.

He explained: "I got a lesson from Des Smyth when I turned pro. He said, whatever they put in your bank account on a Sunday, it makes no odds if it's 10p or a million euro. You judge your game on your game rather than on what they give you.

"I wouldn't say that I have made big strides with my game, but I am getting there. I am a bit more confident in my game than before.

"It has settled down a bit and I am more consistent than I was in a past. Everything is on much more of an even keel and hopefully that will stand me in good stead for next year."

Lawrie came close to getting his career off to a winning start in his rookie season of 2003 but lost the Spanish Open after a play-off with eventual winner Kenneth Ferrie and Swede Peter Hedblom.

Since then his best finish is share of third in the 2005 Spanish Open, though he caressed victory in Mallorca last October.

Describing himself as a late developer, Lawrie has become a family man in recent years with the birth of daughters Jessica (in 2003) and Amelia last year.

Becoming the daddy on the golf course is next on the list and the Dubliner reckons that time is on his side.

He said: "Over the last couple of years, with a young family, your priorities change. But I am only 33 and I would consider myself a late developer in everything I have ever done."

Factfile - Winless trio by the numbers

Peter Lawrie
Age: 33
European Tour events: 162
Wins: 0
Best finish: T2 Canarias Open de España 2003
Career earnings: €1,941,777

Damien McGrane
Age: 36
European Tour events: 159
Wins: 0
Best finish: 3rd KLM Open 2006, T3 French Open 2007
Career earnings: €1,654,811

Gary Murphy
Age: 35
European Tour events: 192
Wins: 0
Best finish: T3rd Russian Open 2006
Career earnings: €1,643,981