Ping’s Right Fit ( 6)
In Scotland a “Laird” is a member of the
gentry. More than 400 years ago, accord-
ing to the encyclopedia, Lairds ruled their
estates like princes.
Sunday in Florida, Scotsman Martin
Laird ruled the Bay Hill estate of an
American golf king named Arnold Palmer.
By two-putting from 87 feet on the 72nd
hole to edge Yank Steve Marino by one
shot, Laird became the first European to
capture Palmer’s prestigious invitational.
And for a country known for its clans
and its kilts, Laird’s victory was honey on
the crumpet. That’s because earlier this
month Scotland’s Sandy Lyle won a Euro-
pean senior event in China. And Sunday in
Spain, countryman Paul Lawrie prevailed at
the Open de Andalucia de Golf.
“It’s no secret Scottish golf has been
down,” Laird said afterward. “To have two
wins in one week is obviously huge.”
Outside of Scotland, Lawrie is still, in
many people’s minds, the answer to the
trivia question: Who won the 1999 Open
Championship at Carnoustie when Jean Van
de Velde melted down on the 72nd hole?
Actually, a better trivia question is this:
Who was the third man, beside Van de
Velde and Lawrie, in the playoff that year at
Carnoustie? The answer (Justin Leonard) is
at the top of the list of finishers at the 1997
Open Championship at Troon.
Troon, by the way, also is in Scotland.
Which right now is a place where celebra-
tory single-malt Scotch is flying off the
shelves like a stiff breeze at Turnberry.