Exclusive: Laird Will Have To Find His Own Augusta Room Should He Win Valero Texas Open.

Scotland’s Martin Laird will have to find his own Augusta room on Sunday night should he capture this week’s Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

The $9.2m Texas tournament is again the final qualifying event to secure the last invitation (not invite) into next week’s 88th hosting of the Masters.

Eleven years ago, Laird pulled the Texas Open victory rug right out from under the feet of Rory McIlroy, birdieing his closing three holes to equal the TPC San Antonio Oaks course record of 63 and deny McIlroy success by two shots.

Martin Laird with the spoils of this 2013 Valero Texas Open triumph

Laird’s then third PGA Tour win not only earned the Scot a cool $US 1.1m first prize cheque along with a slick pair of genuine Texas boots but a third straight Masters invitation of his career.

Sponsors Valero arranged for four private jets for players and caddies heading to the Masters but with Laird’s flight not arriving too late in the evening, and already too late before boarding for the Scot to find a hotel room in the Augusta vicinity.

Fortunately, Laird’s manager got in touch with fellow Scot Sandy Lyle, winner of the 1988 Masters, who had a spare room in the house he was renting, and with Laird eventually knocking on the door just prior to midnight.

Laird said: “I remember we got into Augusta very late but fortunately the management company I was with was the same as Sandy’s (Lyle) so luckily he had a spare room, so I spent what was left of Sunday night in his rented house.

“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 but after all the adrenaline from that Sunday in Texas it just 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).

“Anyway, it would be nice to do the same this week. I’ve been playing steady these past few but then you never know in this game”.

However, with Lyle having now retired from contesting the Masters and just being present for Tuesday’s former champions dinner, Laird may have to find somewhere else to crash in Augusta on Sunday night should he win again in San Antonio.

If successful, Laird will be among 31 players competing this week in the Alamo City and heading to the Masters, including McIlroy.

And with McIlroy revealing he’s back working with famed coach Butch Harmon and also intends ditching contesting Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest, and thus avoid any jinx in his way of finally winning the Masters.


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