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January 22, 2011

Martin Laird


MARK STEVENS: Martin Laird, nice round today, got you right into contention going into the final round tomorrow. Kind of take us through the highlights and your thoughts going into tomorrow's round.
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, obviously pleased with today's round, it's kind of one of those rounds where I'm pleased with 6-under, but I also left a lot of shots out there.
I hit it to about two and a half feet and missed. I had 5-irons into two par-5s and made par. So it wasn't one of those rounds where I had a lot of mistakes, but also hit a lot of good golf shots and had a lot of 6-footers for birdie.
6-under gets me right in the mix, and if you're within three, four shots tomorrow, around these golf courses, as Duval showed a few years ago, you can go low here and win.
So looking into tomorrow I just got to -- it kind of helps when you're up there on courses like this, because you know right from the first hole, you got to keep firing away. You can't play kind of defensive golf and I'm just going to keep doing that.
MARK STEVENS: Questions?

Q. What was your form coming into this week and how much confidence did you have?
MARTIN LAIRD: I didn't really have any form because I haven't played a tournament since Malaysia, which was end of October. I've been playing pretty good, and then I started struggling about two weeks ago and flew my coach out for Thursday through Sunday last week before this tournament. He came out to Scottsdale and we got three really good days of work in and it kind of solved a lot of the problem.
But I had been hitting it left, and for me, I'm a cutter, that's just kind of a deadly shot. And we got rid of that. So I really didn't know how I was going play this week because it was only three days before I got here that we sorted it out. And obviously been hitting the ball well and I've been driving the ball well, which you have to do around these golf courses. Because then you can really fire at all the flags and hopefully keep doing that tomorrow.

Q. Does it help sometimes when you're kind of fresh off of a lesson essentially and you've got the right thoughts, that they haven't kind of faded as tournaments have gone on?
MARTIN LAIRD: I guess yes and no. My coach and I, we talked end of last year that we were actually going to take it that little easier, probably doing a lot of over coaching, I was thinking too much. So this year we're trying to kind of just make it a little more simple.
And that's really what we worked on last week, was trying to fix it but not give myself too many thoughts. And I knew, to be honest, out there, I'm not really thinking any swing thoughts. We got rid of it enough and hit enough balls in three days that I didn't have to really think about what I was doing anymore. That's a perfect situation on the golf course, when you don't have to think about a swing thought. You can just see your thought and let it go. That's how I've been feeling the last few days, so it's been good.

Q. Do you know Gary Woodland at all?
MARTIN LAIRD: I know him fairly well. We actually have the same agent. So I'm sure he's pretty happy sitting in Dallas right now. But I know him just through my agent and seeing him around here. I never played with him. But he's a real nice guy and also playing great this week. I know he hits it along way, which is a big help around here. I'm sure he's not having much club into the par-5s and he's obviously also playing great this week to be what he's at, 24-under.

Q. His back story, which may be you know, he played basketball in college, and he really didn't start playing golf competitively probably until junior year in college. To be out here and also be contending in a tournament, how big of an accomplishment do you think that is given -- obviously he was a golfer, but when he started playing competitively.
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, obviously he's a great athlete, which is half the battle nowadays with golf. Obviously he's got a lot of talent that it wasn't going to take him too long to get used to being in this situation. And as I say, I never played with him so I can't really say anything about his game.
Obviously he's comfortable and he's got a lot of talent. And if he was a competitive basketball player, he knows what it's about being in the hunt or having close games or whatever. I'm sure he can draw from that.
But the fact that he only took up serious golf his junior year of college and he's already out here on TOUR leading a golf tournament is pretty impressive.

Q. Who is your agent?
MARTIN LAIRD: His name is Blake Smith, Hambric Sports.

Q. You're obviously one of the many non-Americans coming over here and basically move here and play golf. And I remember asking Justin Rose a couple years ago, he was leading this tournament, Do you ever feel like you're caught between two worlds or have you been here long enough where you feel comfortable, in other words? He said, I miss a cup of tee. Things like that. Do you ever feel, A, even though as long as you've been here, that there are certain things you miss?
MARTIN LAIRD: Oh, yeah, definitely. I miss a lot of things. I left home when I was 17, and my family's been back there since then. So that's 11 years without ever really seeing my family. So that's not ideal. But I'm at the stage now where I get to go back a few times a year and play some events over there. And I can see them a little more, which is good.
But I definitely, what would I say, is settled in now over here. I've been here since 2000, and I have a house in Scottsdale, and I think of that as my home. But no, I guess I wouldn't say I'm caught in two worlds. There's things I miss and I wish I could spend more time back there, but it's pretty good setup we have over here, too.

Q. When you go home they all say what's happened to your accent?
MARTIN LAIRD: Oh, yeah, I get made fun of for a couple of days, and then it all comes back.

Q. What do you think of the R11, what did you think of it when you first saw it, and how -- did you have any qualms about looking down at a white driver?
MARTIN LAIRD: I think -- personally, I think they look great. I didn't see the drivers until just a week or so before this tournament. I got one of the 3-woods, a new 3-wood that was white and I thought it looked great. That's kind of the consensus when all the guys grab it and have a look. I have yet to see anyone say it looks weird. They all are surprised that it looks pretty good. I think people expect it to look a lot more different than it did.
Obviously they're great clubs. A lot of guys have them in play. I'm one of these guys that I don't really switch equipment very much, so I thought I was going to put them in play this week and I had them in the bag, and I just couldn't quite pull the trigger. So I'm sure I'll get them in at some point. And as I said, they're obviously great clubs.

Q. So you are not hitting it? I didn't see.
MARTIN LAIRD: No, I'm not using the new one yet. It's kind of hard. Some guys -- I'm one of these guys that don't switch equipment. I only got one on Monday. It's kind of hard to play a club for three day and then put it in the bag on Wednesday. I mean Sunday I got one and tried to put it in the bag, but couldn't. Personally I need two or three weeks of playing with it and get used to and know how it acts before. Whereas some guys can just grab a club and tee it up right away and feel comfortable with it. And I'm not like that. So it will take me a couple more weeks before I'm real settled with it.

Q. Hitting the ball left, was it a hook or did you just start drawing it and did it just happen one day or was it a gradual situation?
MARTIN LAIRD: When I came back, I took a good six weeks off, and I just started playing. I didn't really practice. I just played and played and played, and I actually was playing pretty good. Then it got about new year, and I thought better start practicing I got a tournament in a few weeks. And when I started practicing, I started hitting it worse. And it was -- I knew it would be -- it was just a setup thing. I was standing a little tall to the ball, and it was more a shot that when I tried to got caught, it would start where I want and then turnover and maybe four or five yards as opposed to going the other way. So for me, I like aiming down the left side of the fairway and hitting a nice cut. Whereas it was starting in the left fairway and drawing in the left trees, so it wasn't really an ideal shot. But it was a setup thing and it didn't take very long to fix.

Q. What's the game plan for tomorrow?
MARTIN LAIRD: You can't go out there and look really at the leaderboard. You got to fire at flags. You look at the scores every day, you got to. I don't know what it's going to take, but I think last year, 30-under won, and I would not be surprised if it was that or lower tomorrow.
My caddie said on 18 coming down the last, not one shot today did we have to think about wind. It was just there's the flag, here's the number, fire away. When it's like that, that's when the scores get low. And these course are in great shape and the greens are perfect. So it's a recipe for low scores.
So tomorrow just the same. I'm kind of more on the aggressive side. I'll hit a lot of drivers and just keep firing away and hopefully make some putts. That's what it's going to come down to, who is making the most 10-, 12-footers for birdie.

Q. What's the Scottish expression, when there's no wind there's no golf?
MARTIN LAIRD: I never heard that one. But there aren't many days in Scotland with no wind, that's for sure.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot. Good luck tomorrow.
MARTIN LAIRD: Thank you.

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