Sandy Lyle had already set Paul Lawrie on his chosen career path when winning the Open Championship in 1985 but he became even more popular with the Aberdonian after also landing a Masters victory three years later.
Like many of his compatriots, Lawrie was glued to a television 30 years ago as Lyle produced one of the most memorable shots in not only that event but any other – a 7-iron from a fairway bunker – to set up the closing birdie that saw him become the first British player to claim a Green Jacket.
“What I can remember is sitting on the edge of my bed knowing that I had him at 8-1 with 20 quid on him!” recalled Lawrie, who was just 19 at the time, with a huge smile across his face.
“I wanted to be a professional on the back of Sandy winning The Open at St George’s in 1985. I turned pro the April afterwards after watching that and wanting to become a professional golfer.
“I was assistant pro at Banchory when he won The Masters and, again, it made me go out there and work extra hard to make sure that I got myself on Tour and give myself an opportunity.”
Lawrie, of course, joined Lyle as a major winner when claiming the Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999 and his compatriot has made an everlasting impression.
“Watching Sandy was the start of my career because I could see someone doing really well on a worldwide stage and then getting to meet him was great as he is a such a nice guy.
“He was my role model, both as a golfer and as a person,” said the two-time Ryder Cup player.
“I always got on well with him and Sandy and Sir Alex Ferguson are always the two guys I have looked up to. Sir Alex did a great job at Aberdeen and I got to meet him later in his career. Golf-wise, though, it was Sandy who gave me the reason to set out on my career.”