What they said: Martin LairdJanuary 09, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: Hyundai Tournament of Champions transcript archive
JOHN BUSH: We have Hyundai Tournament of Champions runner up Martin Laird here in the interview room with us. Martin, 6 under par 67 today, great playing, not quite good enough to catch Steve but still a great week for you.
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, obviously very happy with my finish this week. It's always good to have a runner up finish the first week of the year. But you know, very, very pleased with how I finished the day. I had a little kind of hiccup in the middle there, a couple bogeys in three holes, and making par on 9 from a pretty much perfect lie, had a 2 iron in. But I let a bunch of final rounds go last year, and I had a little talk to myself walking down 11, I wasn't going to do that today, and I set my goal birdieing five of the last seven holes standing on 12 tee, and I did that, so very pleased with that.
JOHN BUSH: You played those holes exactly like you did in round 1.
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, that's the scoring area of this golf course. From 12 through 18 really is where you've got to make your score. I think I saw the stats that Stricker did something ridiculous over those last four or five holes this week. That's where the tournament I think around here is won or lost because you've got to birdie 12, 14, 15 and then 18. But as I said, obviously pleased to come back the way I did.
Q. Did you notice that Stricker was kind of having a slow start there and maybe were you paying attention to see if you had a shot to close in there a little bit early on, first nine??
MARTIN LAIRD: The first I knew at the start, Webb and I were both 3 under through 5, and I knew after that start that we'd be right there. And then the first leaderboard I saw was on 9, and I saw I think he was 1 over at the time through 7, and we were only one or two back. And that obviously gives you a little bit of motivation. Not that you need more motivation, but you realize you still have a chance. But as I said, I really had to birdie 9, and then my bogey on 10 was costly. Then I was too far back, and I think at the same time when I was at 9 he birdied 9, and all of a sudden I went from two back to four back or five back again. As I said, my target was to get to 20 under and see what happened, and I did that, so I'm obviously very pleased with that.
Q. Being five back going into today, how realistic was it to try and catch a guy like Steve??
MARTIN LAIRD: Oh, yeah, it was going to be very difficult. I said yesterday it was going to take 8 or 9 under, and it turns out it would have taken 9 under to win it and 8 under to get in a playoff. It would have taken one of the best rounds I've ever played in a final round to catch someone like Stricker. I think he's won 11 times and a five shot lead. So I knew that was going to be the case. But as I said, obviously I'm pleased with my finish. But at the same time a little disappointed with the shots I gave away in the middle of my round.
Q. We talked earlier in the week about you joining the European Tour and trying to get on the Ryder Cup team. I'm sure you feel like this is a good start because I know you're behind not having had those couple of months until you started here in January.
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, you know, I've been saying the last month or two I want to get off to a quick start this year and get my name up there as a name that's in contention for the team, and obviously coming out here and playing like this this week has obviously done that for me. But I'm not just going to sit back and be like, I've had a good finish. I still need I reckon I need to win at least once, maybe twice, to get on that team on the points. As I said, missing a few months, but obviously coming here and finishing second has helped me a lot.
Q. What is your schedule from here??
MARTIN LAIRD: I'm going to play Humana Challenge next and then after that I'm going to play Phoenix, Pebble Beach, LA and then the Match Play, and then I'll take a week off and then play Doral, Transitions, Bay Hill, and then a week off and then the Masters. Yeah, I'm excited about the first part of my schedule. I really like all those courses. I feel like I can I have a really good chance of winning at all those tournaments, and obviously the way I played this week, I'm excited for the start of the season.
Q. Steve's win today is his eighth since 2009, more than anybody else on TOUR. Is he a little bit under appreciated do you think??
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, you know, I've said that a few times, I think probably the most underrated player in the world, Steve Stricker. As you said, I didn't know that number, that he's won more times since 2009 than anyone. He's kind of especially when you go people over here know how good he is, but especially when you go back to Europe, when I go back to Scotland or whatever, everyone knows he's a good player, but I don't think they realize just how good he is. As you said, he's won more than anyone since 2009, so you could argue he's been the best player in the world for that spell, and every year, even when he's not winning, he's always up there. I played with him here in the second round and he shot 10 under and made it look pretty easy. He's obviously a great player. I've said that for a while, that he's maybe the most underrated player in the world.
Q. What did you do better here this time around than a couple years ago??
MARTIN LAIRD: You know, I don't know. I played pretty good last time, too. It's just I think it's more it's not really what I did better, I think it's just two years more on TOUR, two years more experience, a little more confidence, a little more belief in myself now than maybe the last time I was here. But last time I was here with four holes, five holes to go I had a chance to win the tournament; I think I was only one or two back. So it wasn't much different, I just finished a lot stronger. Two years ago I bogeyed 16 and 17 and birdied 18, so I finished a lot stronger this time than I did last time, which is probably down to a little bit more experience than a couple years ago.
Q. Any thoughts of going to Sony this year or any time in the future??
MARTIN LAIRD: No. You know, Sony Open golf course unfortunately is not one that suits my game very well. I like to hit cuts pretty much about 95 percent of the time with my driver and fairway woods, and that golf course sets up perfect for guys that hit draws. There's a lot of right to left doglegs, and for me it just doesn't set up well for me, which is unfortunate because it's a nice week to spend in Hawai'i. But yeah, I don't know when I'll be back playing there.