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Lyle harbours Ryder Cup hopes

Last updated: 6th February 2013

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Sandy Lyle: Ryder Cup hopes

Sandy Lyle: Ryder Cup hopes

Two-time major champion Sandy Lyle still hopes to lead Europe's team at the Ryder Cup one day.

When Players' Committee chairman Thomas Bjorn called the former Masters and Open champion to inform him that he was one of the five candidates to take over from Jose Maria Olazabal, he had already given up hopes of one day captaining the Europeans against the Americans.

But learning that he was still widely regarded as one of the foremost European golfers of his era once again piqued the 54-year-old's interest in the role once more.

"At least I'm still being considered because two years ago I thought I was regarded as too old," said Lyle. "They never told me I was under consideration for the captaincy," said the 1985 Open winner.

"It was only when I got a phone call from Thomas 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."

Lyle also draws confidence from the American team's decision to lead with veteran Tom Watson, who will be 65 during the 2014 event.

"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," he said. "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."

Despite his desire, the 1988 Masters champion won't be campaigning for the role.

"I'm not going to campaign for it," said Lyle. "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.

"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."

Lyle, a five-times player in the Ryder Cup, has warned 2014 captain Paul McGinley that his side will face a tough challenge in Scotland next year, where Watson won four of his eight majors as a player.

"He is well-liked there and it's going to be awkward for McGinley because he has got a lot to live up to. Tom is almost an icon in Scotland," explained Lyle.

"It'll test him to his limits. When you mention Tom Watson he gets a lot of respect... he's like a Lee Trevino or a Jack Nicklaus. When it comes to the war of words and the way the speeches go, that's an important thing.

"McGinley needs to get the crowd to rise to the occasion and get the players going," Lyle added. "But McGinley has a lot of experience of team events having played in the Ryder Cup and been a Seve Trophy captain and Ryder Cup vice-captain."

"He's a good choice and he'll do a good job."



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