Laird: Returning After Eight Years To Augusta Better Prepared From ‘The Rush’ Of His Texas Open Win

Former champion Martin Laird tees-up in this week’s Valero Texas Open knowing there will not be the rush or stress of eight years ago in heading to the Masters.

It’s been eight years since Laird last competed at Augusta National but the overwhelming joy of winning in San Antonio was somewhat spoilt five days later in missing the Masters cut and, in a small way, attributed to a frantic Sunday night post his win in the Lone Star State.

In 2013, Laird came from four shots off the lead heading into the last day to be six-under through just eight holes before birdies at 16 and 17 to equal the Texas course record and deny then World No. 2 Rory McIlroy by two shots.

A day earlier, Laird had ended his third round hitting a female marshal on the ankle with his errant second shot but on day four the Scot hit the 18th hole flagstick with his chip shot and then holed the three-foot birdie putt.

Laird arrived in ‘Alamo City’ having earned $69,200 to that point in season 2013 but he brilliantly boosted that tally with a $1.116m first prize cheque and a two-year PGA Tour exemption.

Martin Laird capturing the 2013 Valero Texas Open (Photo – PGA Tour)

There were two further awards for Laird in first being presented, and as is customary, with a pair of Texas Open cowboy boots but of more importance to Laird was a Masters invitation to join fellow Scots Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie the following week at Augusta National.

Laid said: “It’s hard to believe eight years has gone so quickly.”

However, winning the Texas Open and being the last into the Masters was not a night for celebration.

There was no concern with regards to a flight east to Augusta as Valero Texas Open organisers had arranged a charter flight for players and caddies teeing-up in the Masters but the question for Laird as he proudly stepped aboard the flight was where was he going to stay Sunday night.

He said: “Anytime you win, it takes a bit out of you, it’s tiring and I remember we got into Augusta very late but fortunately the management company I was with was the same as Sandy’s (Lyle) so fortunately he had a spare room, so I spent what was left of Sunday night in the house.

Martin Laird (Photo – www.golfbytourmiss.com)

“Sandy was waiting with a bottle of wine, so it was nice to share that with him.  I recall him saying it was the 25th anniversary of his win and how he had won the week before Augusta in Greensboro.

“I then got to the course and after all the adrenaline from Sunday in Texas disappeared.

“I just felt a bit rushed and a bit tired going into it. I ended-up missing the cut by one after Jason Day birdied the 16th to knock me out under the 10-shot rule.

“I was friends with Jason and I gave him some crap for that (smiling)”.

Eight years on and Laird has had the luxury of now knowing since last October, and after capturing a second Shriners Hospital Open, he will be teeing-up next week at Augusta National.

So much so, he drove north from Ponte Vedra, Florida straight after contesting the Players Championship to play a practice round a day later at Augusta National, something he could not do in 2013.

He said: “The great thing going back next week is that I’ve had since last October to be prepared

Martin Laird wins the 2020 Shriners Hospital Open to qualify for the 2021 Masters (Photo – PGA Tour)

“I took my caddie (Kevin McAlpine) for a little look the Monday after the Players as he’s never been there.

“You have to take a local caddie when you go early so he carried the bag and Kevin walked with us and picked the caddies brain. I did that before my first one in 2011 and the local caddie gave me a lot of good stuff then.

“The course was in good shape, not quite tournament speed but not far off. It was good to get back. There were a couple of changes with the fifth hole being the only big change since I’d been last there. It’s a course the more you play, the more you pick up things about it.

“So, looking back I never really got to celebrate that Texas win. When I won in Vegas last year, I had two weeks off and it was great. I felt I was celebrating for two weeks.”

And Laird will play the opening two rounds of this weeks £stg 5.6m event in the company of fellow Scot Russell Knox and 2018 US Ryder Cup captain, Jim Furyk.

Laird said: “The San Antonio course is a great golf course to warm-up before the Masters.  I clearly like the golf course and I also like being there for the week.

“It’s a good three-ball with Russell (Knox) in the same group and also to have Jim (Furyk) will make for great company over the two rounds.”

“I’m looking forward to these next few weeks and not just The Masters but also this week’s Valero Texas Open, as it’s always fun to go back where you have won before, and I’ll also play Heritage the week following Augusta.”



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