HE got here via the last chance saloon and now his order at the Augusta National bar is a ‘double Scotch’.
Twenty-five years after Sandy Lyle won back-to-back to become Masters champion, Martin Laird has the same mouth-watering target in his sights heading into the first major of the season.
Setting out in the final round of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio on Sunday, the Glaswegian was set to miss out on the party this week. A superb closing nine-under-par 63 for a two-shot victory over world No 2 Rory McIlroy rectified that and now he has chance to match one of the greatest feats in Scottish golf.
“Obviously, it would be nice to emulate Sandy. I’m certainly coming here with confidence, so we’ll see what happens,” said the 30-year-old, who, coincidentally, is staying in the same house as Lyle this week due to the fact they share the same management company.
The two-time major winner, in fact, was waiting up to congratulate his compatriot on Sunday night after he’d flown in on a private jet from Texas, having earlier watched the final few holes of Laird’s win after playing a practice round at Augusta.
“My plans obviously changed quickly and I didn’t have anywhere to stay last night, but my management company, Hambric Sports, had a spare room,” he added. “Sandy is staying there and he was waiting for me when I got in. He told me it was the 25th anniversary of his win and how he had won the week before Augusta in Greensboro.
“He was saying he was outside having lunch on Sunday when someone came out and said ‘are you not watching the golf?’ He asked ‘why, who’s leading?’ and when the person said it was me, he went in right away and watched the last six or seven holes.
“We didn’t talk for too long. It was late, I didn’t get to the house until about 11:30pm and as you can imagine I was a bit tired. We opened a bottle of wine and had that and then I went to bed.”
Laird’s victory was his third on the PGA Tour – one more than both Lee Westwood, the world No 13, and former USPGA champion Martin Kaymer. It also ended a run of 14 consecutive weeks of an American winning on the US circuit.
“I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far in my career,” said the former Scottish youth champion.