A LOT has happened in the 10 years since Martin Laird played with Tiger Woods in the final round of The Masters.

For a start, the Glasgow man has added two more PGA Tour wins to a resume that includes four in total. As for Woods? Well, there have been so many twists in his Tiger tale over the past decade, his career biography comes with tangled knots through it.

In 2011, Laird made his debut at Augusta. And he made a right good fist of it. A 20th place finish was a fine effort by the Scottish newcomer. That he got to cling on to the Woods rollercoaster in the closing round was something to cherish.

Tiger had been seven shots off the lead going into the final day but, with the kind of rousing charge that just about roared the heads off the Augusta azaleas, he got himself into a tie for the lead after the outward nine. Woods couldn’t maintain his assault, though, but that period of great pomp remains seared on Laird’s memory.

“That was my first Masters and it could not have got any better playing alongside Tiger,” reflected Laird, who has returned to Augusta this week for his first Masters appearance since 2013.

“For him to go out and play the way he played and to end the front nine leading. I can still remember every shot we both hit in that round.

“That last round was the craziest round I have ever been a part of, in terms of the crowds that followed us around that Sunday. I will never forget walking from the ninth green up to the 10th tee. He had just holed like a 30-footer for par on nine and it was insane the amount of people as we could barely get through the crowd walking to the 10th tee.  

“It was just the energy and the noise. They always talk about hearing those Augusta roars but that Augusta roar was with our group throughout the round.  

“It was also one of the most enjoyable rounds. I didn’t score the round I wanted but I felt I played decent enough for what was my first Masters. The way Tiger was charging up the leaderboard and to have half the people inside the gates of Augusta National following our group is a great memory and something I will always have.

“It is the only time I’ve ever played alongside Tiger and it makes that memory better given that he was on the charge and trying so hard to win.”

Laird earned another drive up Magnolia Lane this week by winning the Shriners Open, his fourth PGA Tour title, last October. It was a victory that bridged an eight-year title gap for the Scot after a barren spell that featured the usual toils and troubles that this game of fluctuating fortunes can conjure. In that time, Laird, now 38, has noticed one telling change.

“How do I compare my game now with back then?,” he said. “Back then I was one of the longer guys on tour whereas now that’s not the case and I am probably middle of the pack or maybe just over average. Back then that was one of the strengths of my game, my length of the tee. Ten years on, it’s amazing how much that has changed.”

Laird will be one of three Scots in the Augusta field this week. At one end of the age spectrum is the 1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle who will be making his 40th Augusta appearance at the age of 63.

Robert MacIntyre, meanwhile, will be making his debut at 24. Laird is confident the Oban left-hander will take it all in his stride. “He will cope fine and when he played with Russell (Knox) and I at The Players Championship, he was very impressive,” noted Laird. 

“It wasn’t just his game but he seemed to be very strong mentally and I don’t think there is too much that fazes him. He seems to have a great mindset, he has his head screwed on pretty straight and he knows what he’s doing. I think for that reason he will be a good player for a long time.  He seemed very even-tempered and he knows what he needs to do.”

There will be no Tiger Woods at Augusta as he continues his long recovery from that frightful car crash earlier this year. Laird will always have his own Tiger tale to tell, though.