The Open is here again; and so it must be time for Sandy Lyle to find himself in hot soup again. It seems every year the Open comes around the two-time major champion has to apologise for something.
Last year at Royal Birkdale he pulled out of the championship after nine holes because he had injured his wrist, but his stumbling mutterings to the press afterwards led many to believe he had pulled out because of the bad weather. And, 12 months on, he found himself once more having to apologise.
At the Scottish Open last week he was asked if he felt that walking off last year had been detrimental to his chances of becoming the next European Ryder Cup captain. His reply made reference to a ‘cheating’ allegation against Colin Montgomerie in 2005 in Jakarta and the implication of his remarks were that this incident had not hurt Monty’s bid to become the captain at Celtic Manor in 2010.
“In my frustration over continually being asked about the incident at last year’s Open,” he said in a prepared statement, “I regretfully brought up another old incident, one that happened over four years aqgo, and has long since been resolved. Colin Montgomerie and I are not at war. Colin is a great champion and a good friend.”
Monty however, doesn’t seem to have been appeased by this peace offering. He has been extensively quoted as saying Lyle’s remarks have ruined his Open preparations, and that it has been a far from ideal start to what he regards as his last realistic attempt to win the Claret Jug.
There were rumours that Monty might ask Lyle to be one of his vice captains in Wales next year. That now seems very unlikely.