Harrington Or Power Needing To Do A Laird In San Antonio If They’re To Tee-Up At Augusta National

It is 11-years since Denver-based Scot Martin Laird pulled off one of the more remarkable among recent victories at the Valero Texas Open.

The tournament is the third oldest on the PGA Tour having first been staged in 1922 when Dornoch-born Scottish/American Robert MacDonald won the event at the Brackenridge course in San Antonio.

Since MacDonald’s success, some of the best in the game have added their names to the list of winners including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Jack Burke Jnr, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Lee Trevino, Jay Haas, Justin Leonard, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Ben Curtis, Adam Scott and more-recently another proud Texan in Jordan Spieth.

So, what makes Laird’s victory in 2013 special?

Martin Laird holding aloft the Valero Texas Open trophy and wearing his victory cowboy boots. (Image – Valero Texas Open)

For starters, the 2013 Valero Texas Open that year rescheduled from it’s then normal place two weeks prior the Masters to the week prior.  The Shell Houston Open had been played from 2007 to 2018, and with the exception of 2013, in the week prior to the Masters so it meant that the 2013 Texas Open winner, and not otherwise exempt, would also earn an invitation into the Masters. In fact, it came a big suprise to many in October 2012 when the PGA Tour released its 2013 schedule to see the Valero Texas Open moved but then, as mentioned, it was only for that one year until 2019 when the event was formally rescheduled to the week prior the Masters.

In 2013, Laird arrived in The Alamo City having already won two Tour titles, the 2009 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational however his 2013 form was not that good with theValero Texas Open his ninth start of the year. He had missed four cuts, three of which were consecutive, and failed to make it to the weekend at the Shell Houston Open the week proir. As well, Laird’s best finish of the year was a T34 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Laird, however, found form and in a most-impressive manner coming from four shots back heading into the last round to post an equal TPC San Antonio course record equalling 63, that included three closing birdies, to deny then World No. 2 Rory McIlroy by two shots.

The Scot became the first player since Johnson Wagner to earn the final spot into the Masters by virtue of a win the week before (2008 Shell Houston Open).

Laird was then aboard the private jet provided by sponsor Valero that arrived into Augusta, GA very late that Sunday night, so late that Laird had trouble finding a room for the night.  Fortunately, fellow Scot and 1988 Masters champ had a spare room in the Augusta house he had hired for the week.

While Laird has returned to San Antonio looking to find his way to the Masters since a last Augusta visit in 2021, Harrington, and competing this week thanks to a special invitation, last played in the Masters in 2022 and in what was his 16th journey Augusta National.

Power made his major championship debut in the 2022 Masters and has played all four majors for the past two years, so naturally would dearly love to be returning next week.

In that 2013 Valero Texas Open there was 19 players in the field, including Harrington and McIlroy, who was already exempt into The Masters.

This week there will be 29 players heading from San Antonio to Augusta including not only McIlroy but the likes of Masters champions Zach Johnson, Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama plus fellow major winners Matt Fitzpatrick, Lucas Glover, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman,






Comments are closed.