Laird Looks For Masters Limelight 10-Years After Being Blanked In Debut Alongside Tiger.

Ten years after playing for an only time alongside Tiger Woods and Martin Laird’s confident he can command much of the Masters final round attention in the absence of the five-time Masters winner

A decade on, Laird found himself totally blanked by host TV network CBS in playing the final round alongside the then 14-time Major winning Woods.

The Scot was competing in his first Masters after having qualified by winning the Shriners Hospital Open six months earlier whereas Woods was teeing-up in 17th major and having won a fourth green jacket six years earlier in 2005.

Laird found himself paired with Woods when both players ended the third day of the 2011 Masters tied on four-under par with Laird shooting a 69 and Woods a 74.

Scotland’s Martin Laird and Tiger Woods together for the final round of the 2011 Masters but watching CBS coverage you would not have known

All interest was on Rory McIlroy out front by four shots as he chased down a first Major Championship.

But it was Woods that saw patrons flock to his group and fans around the world glued to the box.

Woods burst from the blocks with birdies on two and three and while he dropped a shot on four, he had fans roaring with the delight with birdies on six and seven and then eagled the par-five eighth hole to be five-under for the round.

It mattered nothing Laird was his partner for as soon as CBS showed every Woods shot they cut to another group.

Laird recalls: “It was just the energy of the crowd and the noise.  They always talk about hearing those Augusta roars but that Augusta roar was with our group throughout the round.

“The way Tiger was charging up the leader-board and to have half the people inside the gates of Augusta National following our group is a great memory and something I will always have.

“I will never forget walking from the ninth green up to the 10th tee.  He had just holed like a 30-footer for par on nine and it was insane the amount of people as we could barely get through the crowd walking to the 10th tee.”

McIlroy was imploding on route to an 80 whereas Woods stalled with three pars before a bogey on 12, birdie at 15 and bogey on 16 to eventually post a 67 and share fourth behind South African Charl Schwartzel who birdied his closing four holes to win by two shots.

Laird shot a 73 to finish in a tie for 15th but it was a day he says he will never forget.

Laird said: “That my first Masters and my first final round at Augusta National and it could not have got any better playing alongside Tiger and for him to go out and play the way he played and to end the front nine leading.

“I can still remember every shot we both hit in that round.

“It was also one of the most enjoyable rounds.  I didn’t score the round I wanted but I felt I played decent enough for what was my first Masters.

“And to now be going back this week 10 years on and to have those memories of playing alongside Tige, and back when he was playing well …. That last round was the craziest round I have ever been a part of, in terms of the crowds that followed us around that Sunday.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever played alongside Tiger and it kind of even makes that memory better given here was Tiger on the charge coming from five shots back and trying so hard to win.”

And now on the 10th anniversary of that day, Laird believes he will tee-up on Thursday ‘better’ to deal with everything Augusta National will throw at the Scot.

He said: “Looking back 10-years, I was one of the longer guys on Tour whereas now that’s not the case and I am probably middle of the pack or maybe just over average.

“Back then that was one of the strengths of my game was my length of the tee whereas 10-years on, it’s amazing how much that has changed.

“So, driving is an area where I feel I do not have a huge advantage so I have to try and pick-up strokes through other parts of my game but I feel the way I am playing overall now, my whole game gets better.  My short-game is definitely better than that 2011 Masters, as around the green I am a lot better than back then.

“So, length off the tee is the one thing compared to 2011, I would say is the one big difference over the past 10-years.”

 



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