Countdown to the Masters 2011 - Day 21: The famous Lyle jig


Welcome to Day 21 of the Today's Golfer Countdown to The Masters 2011. Every day from February 17th until the big day when the season's first Major tees off, April 7th, we will be bringing you some of our favourite memorable moments from The Masters since the tournament started in 1934.

There had never been a European Masters champion before 1988 but Sandy Lyle’s victory ended that unfortunate record and he celebrated with a typically Scottish dance on the 18th green.

But Lyle completed his victory the hard way. He had been four ahead with nine to play but got himself into trouble around Amen Corner and found himself tied with Mark Calcavecchia as he stood on the final tee.

When his drive found the bunker on the left it looked like the Scotsman would face a battle to make par and force a play-off, let alone win the Green Jacket in regulation.

But it’s these moments that separate the good from the great and Lyle forced himself firmly in the latter category with the shot that followed.

“I knew on the tee that the main thing I needed to do was stay out of the bunker so I hit a one-iron up the hill thinking I would be safe. Wrong!” he recalls.

“The number I had was 146 yards to the pin, and just over 150 yards to the landing area beyond that. An 8-iron was exactly the distance to pin but a 7-iron was the safest because being short was far worse than being big.”

The shot cleared the steep face of the bunker, flew straight at the pin and pitched 20 feet beyond the hole. It hesitated for a moment before catching the ridge that runs through the middle of the 18th green and rolling back towards the hole. Lyle held his nerve and rolled in the eight-footer for the birdie and the win.