The Norman Transcript

Sports

July 21, 2013

Bad to worse for Laird

GULLANE, Scotland — Martin Laird was at home in Scotland, closing in on the lead at the British Open when it all went wrong.

His mess at Muirfield began with a 2-iron that strayed into nasty, yellow rough right of the fairway. After a couple of hacks — and a couple of penalty shots — he staggered off with a quintuple-bogey 9.

And that wasn’t even the worst of his forgettable Saturday. Walking up the 16th fairway, he was informed an additional shot was being added to his score for failing to alert all the right people when he moved his ball in the rough on the 10th hole to identify it.

“To say that deflated me, I think would be an understatement,” Laird said.

He ended his long day with an 81 — 12 shots out of the lead.

“Every time I hit a shot that could go one way, it went the other,” Laird said.

Even after chopping his way to a 9 on the third hole, Laird was only 3 over for the tournament. He bounced back with a beautiful 5-iron into the toughest hole, and then made birdie. What gnawed at him was the 10th hole.

In deep rough, Laird marked his ball with a tee and told the marshal who found it that he was going to make it was his. One problem. The rules require him to tell playing partner Dustin Johnson or one of the walking officials.

“If I had said, ‘Dustin, just went down to find my ball.’ Or, ‘Rules Official, I’m going to identify my ball.’ Even if I said it loud enough for one of them to hear, it would have been fine,” Laird said. “It’s the fact that none of them heard it, even though I said it. So it’s one of those lovely rules of golf.”

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