Martin Laird Sunday
Q. 68 today, well played. How well did you have to play to shoot that score?
MARTIN LAIRD: I played nicely today. Obviously I didn't miss too many fairways, which is critical out here, but the course setup is fair today.
The first three days I think maybe it was a little on the tough side. A few iffy pins.
But today I wouldn't be surprised if someone is really on and shoots 3‑ or 4‑under today. They will obviously have to play really, really well. The first three days I didn't see that score, but today I see it.
Q. It's interesting you say that though in terms of the potential of a lower score than yours today, because with the leaderboard that we have got, particularly the British interest, if someone gets that number and sits in the clubhouse and waits, it could fall into their lap?
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, they have moved the tees up on the two par‑5s so both are reachable, which hasn't been the case this week. And a lot of the pins have got the slopes working towards the pins, so if you miss that area, it's very hard to get up‑and‑down. But if you hit good shots in the correct area, the ball's feeding towards the flag. So someone that's a good iron player, like Luke or Justin, both of them are great iron players, if they get the ball in the fairway I can see them having a lot of looks at birdies. It's tough to make the putts, though, but as I said, this is the first day I think you can see a 3‑ or 4‑ or 5‑under par. Whereas other days it's just been too hard.
Q. Those last four holes, it's all about trying to cling on to what we have got. We were trying to describe to people the difficulty of this closing stretch here. In your words?
MARTIN LAIRD: Yeah, from 14 on is the hardest finish in golf I've ever played. It really is just brutal. It's not just ‑‑ there's out of bound in play on a couple of the holes, it's 250 yard par‑3s with pins that are on slopes.
And then 18th hole, today it's into the wind. I made a 30‑footer for par. I missed the fairway if I had only hit it 150 yards down the fairway, still had a difficult third shot. So if you drive it in the fairway, the holes are still hard. And if you miss those fairways, you got no chance at some of them. I really think it's probably the hardest last five holes I've played.
Q. And if the conditions had not been as soft this week, if they had had this golf course hard and fast, how difficult would that have been?
MARTIN LAIRD: Well, we were saying that if it was hard and fast, I would have taken 10‑over at the start of the week and with the same setup, the same flags and things we had this week, if they set it up this week with firm fairways and greens, I would have been sitting at 10‑over and I wouldn't have been too far away, I bet. And it's a very, very tough golf course.
Q. Do you enjoy the challenge that is the U.S. Open? They're always tough, aren't they? There always seems to be an aim to get this winning score not to be much better than 1‑under par. Or even over par.
MARTIN LAIRD: I enjoy it now that it's over and I have shot 2‑under the final round, but I'll be honest I do not. I think that they push the envelope a little too far in the first few rounds. I'm all for hard setups, but a few of the pin position gets a little ridiculous. And it's a tough week. It really is just a survival out here.
You hear them talking about it all the time, but it's a lot more than who is playing the best golf, it's who is just willing to hang in there. And I mean, this course, not just this course, U.S. Opens beat you up from the first tee to the last. And it can make you look like an idiot sometimes and sometimes that's hard to handle. After a few rounds it's hard.
Q. Obviously you have to play. Taking yourself and putting yourself in the spectator's viewpoint, can you see the interest in that from the spectators watching you guys obviously who are great at the game, having to struggle for a week?
MARTIN LAIRD: I can maybe see why some people would like it. Definitely it brings us all back down to earth from the normally thinking that 15‑under par is a good score at a tournament and it definitely brings you back down to earth when you come to a U.S. Open. And if they're aiming to test all aspects of your game, they definitely do that. Because as I said, you got drive it good and you got to do everything good out here at a U.S. Open to win. And if that's ‑‑ they definitely aim to do that and to get that out of it. It's a long week and I'm glad it's over.
Q. How pleased are you with your year so far? You've got one win already, you finished well today, do you feel that sets you up well for the rest of the season?
MARTIN LAIRD: Any time you win, it's a good year. The rest of my play, I finished well at the PLAYERS and had a win and that's about my two good weeks this year. So that's been frustrating.
I actually feel like I'm playing really well. My iron game is probably as good as it's ever been and my short game's probably as good as it's ever been. Just not driving it very well. That's what killed me the first three rounds.
Even today down the stretch I was missing fairways where you can't do that. I think when I get that sorted out, I can get on a nice run. It's one of those things I feel like I'm playing a lot better than my results are and hopefully come the second half of this summer and coming back for the Scottish Open and hopefully The Open Championship I can turn it around and turn those results into good finishes.