Sandy Lyle yearns for place in World Golf Hall of Fame

IT seems incongruous that Sandy Lyle, winner of two majors and a host of tournaments across the globe, has not been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at St Augustine, Florida.

• Sandy Lyle admits to being hurt by his continued absence from the World Golf Hall of Fame. Picture: Getty

Lyle himself admits to being somewhat perplexed by his continuing omission after being nominated for the honour several times.

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The Scot, in fact, regards the snub as decidedly more hurtful than being continually overlooked by the Ryder Cup committee as suitable captain material, a state of affairs, he says, that does not trouble him unduly.

But, while he has given up on that particular dream, the 52-year-old confessed that he will be left with a sizeable void in his career if he is not eventually accorded the honour.

Lyle is entitled to feel miffed, given that three of golf's so-called Famous Five - Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer - are already members.

Ian Woosnam, like Lyle, has not been elevated to the status of world great, but he, along with Ballesteros, Langer and Faldo, has led Europe in the Ryder Cup, leaving Lyle as the outsider of the five players who made such an impact on the game in the 1980s and 90s.

Lyle made his admission when attending the Golf Tourism Scotland Gold Standard Awards dinner at the Macdonald Marine Hotel, North Berwick. He said: "When my career ends it won't be a particular disappointment if I have never been Ryder Cup captain.

"I would never close the door on it happening, of course, but it looks like Jose Maria Olazabal will be the next captain in America in two years time and I think Gleneagles in 2014 is too far away for me. The age gap between me and the youngster players will be a little too severe by then and that is a big factor. Monty was still playing with and seeing the players on the European Tour whereas I am too far away from it now. But inclusion in the World Golf Hall of Fame would mean more to me than the Ryder Cup captaincy. It's a bit of a mystery to me why it hasn't happened, given the number of times I have been nominated. But it's the one big ambition I have left and it would be a nice way to end my career."

Lyle stressed that he has no plans meantime to retire from competitive golf, but it is his intention to concentrate largely on the European Senior Tour.

He said: "I will miss the qualifying for the Champions Tour in America so I will have to rely on invitations. But I see myself playing a little more in Europe next year anyway, although my game currently has a lot of dust on it.

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"To be honest it's been a very disappointing year, but I have no plans to tinker with my game.I am through with making changes." Although he spends part of each year in the States, where he has a home at Jacksonville, Florida, and is a supporter of American golf, Lyle claims not to be surprised that several of Europe's top stars have decided not to play full-time on the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy, world No 1 Lee Westwood and Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer have announced that they do not plan to take up their cards in America.

But Lyle claimed: "It is probably a sign of the times that there is no need for our top players to head to the States. In my early days America was the place to play because it was where you were recognised if you won a major or one of the top tournaments.

"But it's not quite the same now. Simply winning is the important thing, whether that be in Europe, America or Asia, and the Ryder Cup proved that there is no need to play in America all the time. There is a difference between Europe and America in terms of the golf courses and the way of life, but living and playing in the States full time wouldn't be for me."

Meanwhile, Castle Stuart Golf Links, which looks certain to host next year's Barclays Scottish Open, beat off competition from Kingsbarns and the Old Course to clinch the Golf Course of the Year award.