Lyle on making his last stand at Augusta National

John Shortt

Sandy Lyle (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Having become the first British winner of The Masters in 1988 Sandy Lyle has finally had enough of walking among the azaleas at Augusta National and announced before the event that this year’s Masters would be his last, in a competitive sense at least.

And so ahead of a 42nd appearance at the tournament he teed it up in the par-3 tournament in what wasn’t an emotional day but will surely become an emotional week for the Scot.

“Yeah, it won’t be that emotional playing around here (par-3). I’m not even thinking about it because I’m come back next year and play here in the par-3 but under different rules. I won’t be competing in the main tournament.


“It’s not a hard decision. I’m not going to get that emotional about it. It will be probably the last hole or so thinking, thank God I don’t have to go out here for — this is a beast of a golf course, and the young ones hit it so much further than me.

“I suppose Nicklaus said the same thing in ’86 when he was 46, and I was lucky enough to be playing with him, and he was basically classed as almost too old or over the hill, and he proved to everybody else he wasn’t over the hill.

“I’m not expecting to do the same thing, but it’s just age catches you up. Club head speed lowers down without you even trying sometimes, and then the course is getting longer and I’m getting shorter. Not a good combination. The young ones are so good these days that I can’t really compete against that.”

Lyle did admit though that there was some emotion at the Champions Dinner on Tuesday night as he was joined by Larry Mize who is also making this his last Masters, with the 1987 champion being the one who slipped the green jacket on Lyle’s shoulders in 1988.

“I was okay. The one guy I thought was going to be brilliant was going to be Larry Mize because he’s used to speaking to people, a man of the church, whatever you want to say.

“He’s done lots of readings, and I thought he’ll have no problem at all, and he clammed up like a clam shell. He just stood up there and had a glass of water and another glass of water and we all (whistles), but obviously we’ve all got feelings. He’s tough enough to win a Masters, but when it comes to that kind of emotional thing, we’ve all got feelings.

“He’s going to be very emotional going down the last two holes I’m sure. I will be, as well, but I maybe don’t show it as much as he does.”

And we reported earlier that it seemed that the only thing that got people hot under the collar at the Champions Dinner was the tortilla soup and Lyle wasn’t ashamed to admit he felt it too.

“Generally everybody enjoys the food. I’ve never really had bad food there yet. I had the soup and had to sort of swab the top of my head because it was perspiring. I like hot food; I’m used to curries and things like that, so I’m not too bad.

“But I think Couples was like holding his throat, oh, my God. So it caught a few people by surprise. I think we needed some more yogurt out there and stick some yogurt in it, and that would have calmed it down.

“I suppose it’s a little bit like when I had haggis. A lot of people didn’t know what haggis was, from Scotland. So there was a lot of dishes going back still full.”

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