Paul Lawrie ‘wouldn’t have said no’ but plans to be a player

Paul Lawrie: Sympathy for Lyle. Picture: AP
Paul Lawrie: Sympathy for Lyle. Picture: AP
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PAUL Lawrie is still hoping his time will come but the Aberdonian fears fellow former Open champion Sandy Lyle is destined to be the “best player not to become Ryder Cup captain”.

Lawrie and Lyle’s names were among the five discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of the European Tour tournament committee that saw Paul McGinley get the 2014 post at Gleneagles. It was no secret that Colin Montgomerie, the winning captain in Wales in 2010, was another of the contenders, while it was only right that Lyle, a two-times major winner, got a mention, too.

But, having earlier indicated he didn’t want to be considered due to the fact he felt he’d prefer to play in the match on home soil, Lawrie’s name was tossed around by the committee only after he’d done a U-turn.

However, with tournament committee chairman Thomas Bjorn telling The Scotsman it would be “unlikely” for Europe to promote a player from the previous match next time out, it seems McGinley would still have succeeded Jose Maria Olazabal.

Lawrie said: “They asked if I would like to be considered and I said there was no harm if the committee thought I was the man for the job. I wouldn’t have said ‘no’ – I don’t think anyone would do that.

“I wasn’t expecting it but, if they felt I was the guy to do it, I would have done it. I’d love to be in the team, but the captain’s the big job, especially at Gleneagles.”

Lawrie, who said McGinley is the “right guy”, added: “[Tour board member] Jamie Spence asked me at the Dubai Tour Championship and I said I was going to concentrate on being a player. Then, last week in Durban, Thomas [Bjorn] asked me, ‘are you sure you don’t want to be considered?’ and I said I would. I’d been thinking about it and who would say ‘no’ to that. I like to think I have one more in me as a player but I would want to be captain in future years.”

Unfortunately for Lyle, it now looks as though he’s going to be the only member of European golf’s so-called “Big Five”, the others being Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer, to miss out on the captaincy.

He looked to have a chance for Celtic Manor in 2010 until he was overlooked in favour of Montgomerie, although it still remains one of golf’s great mysteries why he didn’t get the job 11 years before that instead of Mark James.