2014 Valero Texas Open pre-tournament notes
Dates: March 24-30, 2014
Where: San Antonio, Texas
Course: TPC San Antonio
36-36—par 72/7,435 yards
Field size: 144
2013 champion: Martin Laird
Purse: $6,200,000 ($1,116,000/winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Martin Laird at the 2013 Valero Texas Open
Martin Laird couldn’t manage to break 70 in the first three rounds (70-71-70), but following birdies on his last three holes in the final round, the Scotsman tied the TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) course record with a 9-under 63 to win by two strokes over Rory McIlroy.
With the win, Laird earned the final spot into the following week’s Masters Tournament, the first player to gain such entry since Johnson Wagner in 2008 when he won the Shell Houston Open the week before Augusta.
Laird’s win also snapped a streak of 16 straight by an American on TOUR, dating to Tommy Gainey’s win at 2012 McGladrey Classic. He also became just the third international-born player since 1970 to win the Valero Texas Open (Adam Scott/2010, Nick Price/1992).
Laird’s victory in San Antonio was his third on the PGA TOUR (2009 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational).
Following his win in San Antonio last year, Laird went on to claim T5 honors at THE PLAYERS Championship and T21 at the U.S. Open. Laird would make it through the first two events in the FedExCup Playoffs events and end the season ranked 74th in the standings.
In eight stroke-play starts so far this season, Laird’s only missed cut came in his first start of the season, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. His best finish entering the Arnold Palmer Invitational was a T19 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.