By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Martin Laird always enjoys returning to his native Scotland. His trip home got a little sweeter when he learned Monday that he’d earned a spot in the British Open field.
Laird, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, arrived in London last Friday before flying up to Scotland. He called earning a spot in the year’s third major “a nice boost.” This will be Laird’s fifth consecutive British Open. The high-ball hitter missed the cut in his first three appearances, then finished 72nd last year at Lytham. This year’s Open will be held at Muirfield in his native Scotland.
“Having (a full Scottish breakfast), it's something that's kind of like a novelty for me now because I'm not here very much,” said Laird, who played college golf at Colorado State. “These trousers, were a little tight this morning, but I definitely put on a little bit of weight over these two weeks enjoying all the food I don't get when I'm in America.
“It's just good to be back here, hear lots of Scottish voices and … people shouting for me and rooting me on which is something I don't hear as much in America.”
Laird, No. 59 in the Official World Golf Ranking, got into the British Open off his position in the OWGR, which is used to fill the 156-player field if there are open slots after all exemptions and qualifying spots have been handed out. He’s the second-highest-ranked Scot in the world; Paul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, is No. 49.
Laird is No. 27 in the FedExCup standings after winning this year’s Valero Texas Open, his third PGA TOUR victory and first since the 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“I needed that win,” Laird said of the Texas Open. “My season was definitely not going the right direction until San Antonio. You know, it's funny how one week like that can turn it all around.”
That one week helped him extend his stay in his homeland for another week. He was 117th in the OWGR the week before winning in Texas. Now he’s back at the British Open and in contention to make The TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time since 2010.
“(I’m) probably hitting the ball as good as I have in a long time, consistently, but not making a lot of putts the last few weeks,” he said. “Putting has been feeling fine but just not seeing the ball go in the hole. Hopefully this week is different.”
And next week, as well.