Sandy Lyle’s fresh hope for Ryder Cup captaincy

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ENCOURAGED by hearing he had been considered for the 2014 post at Gleneagles, Sandy Lyle has not given up on becoming a Ryder Cup captain and insists “oldies” like himself have been given fresh hope by Tom Watson’s appointment by the Americans for the match.

The two-time major winner is the only one of Europe’s so-called big five (along with Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer) to not have held the European captaincy but was encouraged that his name had been in the mix along with Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul McGinley before the latter was appointed.

“That was very nice to hear,” said Lyle, a five-time Ryder Cup player and member of Ian 
Woosnam’s backroom team at The K Club in 2006. “At least I’m still being considered because two years ago I thought that was it and I was regarded as too old for the captaincy.

“They never told me I was under consideration for the (2014) captaincy. It was only when I got a phone call from (tournament committee chairman) Thomas (Bjorn) the very night they made their decision that I knew. They seem to have deleted the unwritten rule that says when you reach 50 it is the end of your Ryder Cup chances.

“We live in hope and I shall keep my ears and eyes open from now on. Tom Watson being chosen to lead the US has opened the door for us oldies. Tom will be 65 in 2014. Maybe I could be considered now for a Ryder Cup in the States, especially with my experience of playing over there.”

If Lyle, who would be 57 by then, is considered for the 2016 match at Hazeltine, he will be adopting McGinley’s policy of letting other people push his credentials rather than entering into unseemly electioneering.

“I’m not going to campaign for it,” he added. “If they want me it’ll be most welcome, but I’m not going to cry about it or lose any sleep if they don’t.”

While Sam Torrance, the winning captain in 2002, has been mentioned as a possible vice captain at Gleneagles, Lyle will be “keeping that week free” in case he is required by McGinley.

“I shall be around and hopefully involved, if not with the team then with some PR work,” he said.