But the 1988 winner, who is the sole Scot in the event for the third year running, wished he hadn’t been in the spotlight when hitting the opening shot from the tenth tee after fearing he’d done a Rory McIlroy.
“Very nerve racking,” said Lyle of being the first player to hit on the back nine under the two-tee start being used due to the shorter daylight hours in November from its traditional April slot.
“Especially when you think you've topped it off the first tee, I thought I'd scuffed it up the left side where Rory McIlroy went some years ago (in 2011 when the Northern Irishman let a winning lead slip on the back nine).
“But, no, it just skirted the trees and it didn't get down the hill. At least it got the fairway.”
Lyle, who is making his 39th appearance at the Georgia venue, was “disappointed” with an opening six-over-par 78 after feeling a lesson with Pete Cowen earlier in the week had put him in a good place.
“I was playing awful in Phoenix last week, and he gave me a few little pointers, and it made a tremendous difference,” said Lyle. “I hit some really good range shots but not quite good on the golf course.
“When you hit the ball so badly for two weeks and you're faced with the same shots in some cases, it's getting that right in your mind.
“You know what you want to work on, but can it come off? A lot of times today it didn't quite come off. But I'm very hopeful that I'll get some better driving tomorrow and get some balls on the green and get some birdies.”
As for those braces, he explained: “Well, it started off a few months ago. I had my work trousers on and I had a lot of tools in my work trousers and what happens with the weight, it almost starts to fall down and the shirt comes out.
“And I have a big problem when I'm out on the golf course swinging the golf club, very long torso, shirt comes out. When I wear braces the shirt doesn't come out, so that's it.
“I don't use it for a fashion parade, I do it because I am so fed up with my shirts coming out and constantly having to tuck it in.”
Is he going to stick with that look? “If I start shooting some scores I definitely will,” he added with a smile. A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
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