June 8, 2009

Sandy Lyle

Former Masters winner is enjoying senior play, but wonders about Ryder Cup captaincy snubs

Sandy Lyle can still be found playing good golf on the Champions Tour and at Augusta National, where he finished T-20 this year. But you probably won't find him as captain of Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Grillroom:__ You had 17 birdies at the Masters and only 109 putts, five fewer than Angel Cabrera. __

Lyle: At the Champions Dinner, the chairman, Billy Payne, told us, "I'm sure this year will be more fun." I took that to mean the course wouldn't be set up so severely. It wasn't, and I did have some fun.

When you won in 1988, you credited your girlfriend with relaxing you by tickling your toes at night.

Yes. It was about reflexology and pressure points. It worked. Jolande is my wife now, and the tickling days are gone.

Herbert Warren Wind described your 7-iron from the sand on the 72nd hole as the greatest bunker shot of all time.

I needed it because I was running out of gas. I tried to play safe there, too. I hit 1-iron off the tee. If I hit 1-iron off the new No. 18, I'd be 80 yards short of the bunker.

You had a noteworthy experience there in 1986.

I played with Jack Nicklaus on Sunday and wound up with the best seat in the house while history was being made. He was my idol, so I was rooting for him to pull it off. I remember the noise around him. It was incredible. Everybody was watching. Even God was watching.

How's the Champions Tour?

I'm actually enjoying golf more than I have in quite some time. I've tweaked my swing a bit, and the guys out there are fun. I have a home in Scotland, but also have a place in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., so that cuts down on traveling.

Everybody wonders, what about the Ryder Cup captaincy?

I expressed my interest. I thought it would be my time sooner or later. Monty will be the next one though, so I think my chances are pretty much closed out.

In the United States, we wonder about Larry Nelson's captaincy bid.

I can't speak for him, but it appears he got sideswiped too. I never hurt anybody. Am I too nice a guy? I don't know the answers. I'm a little confused by the whole process, but I have no choice except to move on.