I thought Laird was fantastic in winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Five over par after 10 or 11 holes, he then drove into the bunker on 12, but hit the most amazing three wood out of the hazard and went on to win from there, with a lovely putt on the 16th for a birdie.
He’s from Glasgow but went to college in America and has done fantastically well. He has his PGA tour card, has won titles and he’s off and running. He seems to be up there consistently week in, week out, and to be at 21st in the world already is brilliant.
Laird is a great driver, extremely long and full of confidence. Being schooled in the States makes for a higher ball flighter than a European – in America the wind is much warmer and conducive to high flights.
He had a great win in 2009 but wasn’t even really considered for last year’s Ryder Cup, which just shows you the superb level that European golf is at right now. But this is a fantastic victory for him – it’s one of the biggest events, it’s well deserved, he’s a great player and it’s nice to see.
Justin Rose was third, which looks promising for the Masters in a week or so, but with two holes to go I thought he was damn near favourite. Two men beat him: one birdied the last, which is unheard of, the other birdied 16 and parred the last two.
Meanwhile at the Andalucia Open, Paul Lawrie battled superbly to pull off his first win for nine years. He had a bad start to the final round and, with the run he’s on, it would have been very difficult to come back from, but he played the back nine absolutely magnificently. I must also mention Johan Edfors, who’s been off the boil for a while but did well and came second to Lawrie.
FACTFILE | MARTIN LAIRD
DOB: 29 December 1982
Turned pro: 2004
First year on PGA?Tour: 2008
PGA Tour wins: October 2009 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open; March 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational
European Tour wins: 0
Career high ranking: 21 (current)
Best finish in a Major: T48, 2010 PGA Championship