Laird Now Shoulders Scotland’s Last Augusta National Invitation Hopes

The Home of Golf nation is staring at no Scottish player competing in next week’s Masters for a first time in 40-years.

Just one invitation into the 88th hosting of The Masters remains and that is for the winner, and not otherwise exempt, of this week’s Valero Texas Open.

Denver-based Martin Laird is the only Scot teeing-up in San Antonio and he is going to require a repeat of his victory in the 2013 tournament if Scotland is going to be represented next week at Augusta National.

Sandy Lyle has proudly carried the Scottish colours at Augusta for every year without failure since 1985 while he became exempt for life in winning a green jacket in 1988.

Martin Laird – Scotland’s last hope of securing a Masters invitation. (Image Getty)

However, after missing the halfway in his last nine appearances Lyle called time last year on competing in the Masters and instead will be present next week only to attend the Masters Champions dinner.

Disappointingly top-ranked Scot Robert MacIntyre failed to automatically qualify having slipped a further five places on the World Rankings to new World No. 79 and one place behind Japan sensation Keita Nakajima, winner of yesterday’s Hero Indian Open.

MacIntyre made his Masters debut in 2021 after ending the 2o20 season inside the top-50 on the World Rankings while his 12th place showing secured an automatic Augusta return visit in 2022.

The Oban lefty needed to win last week’s Houston Open to get himself back into the Masters while he’s not in this week’s San Antonio field leaving the 41-year-old Laird to carry Scotland’s Masters hopes.

It was 11-years ago, Laird came from four shots back in posting an equal course record 63 to deny then World No. 2 Rory McIlroy victory in the Alamo City and secure what continues a very last Augusta National tee time.

Laird then joined the likes of McIlroy aboard one of four private jets chartered by sponsor Valero that flew players and caddies from San Antonio to Augusta but not arriving to very late in the evening, and with Laird struggling to find any vacant accommodation given the unique nature of his then third PGA Tour triumph.

Fortunately, he was able to spend that Sunday night in a spare room in the house rented by Lyle before sorting out accomodation for himself, though it would only be for four nights as he missed the halfway cut albeit by a shot with scores of 76 and 73.

Laird did not return to the Masters till 2021 and courtesy of his late 2020 Shriners Childrens Hospital Open triumph.

 

 



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