At 61, though, Lyle has started to try and keep himself in shape. He’s hoping that can help him keep going for a few years yet in the season’s opening major. “It is going to happen at some stage, I know that,” admitted Lyle of finishing up here, as seems likely in the case of his fellow former winner and close friend, Ian Woosnam, after this year. “But, as long as I stay healthy, I should be able to keep going for a bit.
“I’m doing some exercises these days, whereas before I was a bit lazy, and the golf swing has held up pretty well over the past two days.”
Lyle, who is making his 38th appearance this week, was speaking after signing for a second-round 75, two shots more than his opening effort. As he feared, his four-over-par total ended up seeing him miss the cut by one shot after a long wait.
It was the second year in a row that he had failed by the narrowest of margins to make it through to the weekend, having last achieved that feat in 2014.
“The back nine could have been brutal after I’d had a sloppy period where I was kind of losing the plot,” said the two-time major winner of dropping four shots in five holes to turn in 40. “I got very hot, but once I slowed myself down a little bit I was okay.”
Pipped for a third career win in the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, Lyle made three 2s over the first two rounds, completing the hat-trick with an arrow-like tee shot to around six feet at the 12th. “The par-3s haven’t hurt me one bit this week,” he said. “I’ve played them in three under and I’m quite chuffed about that. I’d like to have played the par-5s a little better. They’ve hit me right below the belt. However, I feel that I can still handle this test, so there’s no reason why I won’t be back next year.”
Referring to four early exits in a row, he added: “I’ve been a lost puppy out there, but I feel my game, ball-striking wise, has been a lot better recently. Probably the best it has been in the last ten years. I always had my back against the wall trying to keep pars going whereas today on the last two holes I hit two good drives, a 7-iron into 17 and then a 6-iron at the last to make solid pars.”