Monday 22 November 2010

Gentle Masters Giant

I watched from the sidelines last week at The Golf Tourism Scotland Awards Dinner at The Marine Hotel in North Berwick and couldn't help but be impressed by the quiet dignity of guest of honour Sandy Lyle. I remember, like the rest of Scotland, watching him firstly drive into that Augusta 18th bunker and then follow it with that magnificent recovery shot in 1988.

The big man carried himself so graciously throughout the evening and it was all the more disappointing to read of his hurt by his continued absence from the World Golf Hall of Fame. He has always struck me as a most principled individual and his stance on a number of issues has maybe distanced him from some of the establishment. I suppose I was disappointed when he walked off during the open but his actions are no worse than that of many other professional golfers and are more than offset by the positive memories he has left us all

The 52-year-old confessed in an interview that he will be left with a sizeable void in his career if he is not eventually accorded the honour given that Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer are already members.

When interviewed at the dinner he said: "When my career ends it won't be a particular disappointment if I have never been Ryder Cup captain.

"I would never close the door on it happening, of course, but it looks like Jose Maria Olazabal will be the next captain in America in two years time and I think Gleneagles in 2014 is too far away for me. The age gap between me and the youngster players will be a little too severe by then and that is a big factor. Monty was still playing with and seeing the players on the European Tour whereas I am too far away from it now. But inclusion in the World Golf Hall of Fame would mean more to me than the Ryder Cup captaincy. It's a bit of a mystery to me why it hasn't happened, given the number of times I have been nominated. But it's the one big ambition I have left and it would be a nice way to end my career."

I can't surely be alone in thinking that Sandy Lyle deserves so much more.

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