Lyle apologises -but perhaps too late
Sandy Lyle issued an apology to Colin Montgomerie today, saying he hoped the pair would still be friends.
Sandy Lyle issued an apology to Colin Montgomerie today (Tuesday) and said he hoped the pair were still friends – but there appeared to be little hope of that.
The damage had already been done by the time the former Open and Masters champion told a packed press conference ahead of the Open at Turnberry he regretted bringing up the “cheat” controversy Europe’s Ryder Cup captain was involved in four years ago.
“I feel especially bad if I have jeopardised his preparation for the Open Championship,” said Lyle.
Yet at no time did he withdraw his comment made to two reporters a week ago and splashed across today’s sporting headlines that what Montgomerie did in Indonesia was “a form of what you would call cheating”.
Lyle pleaded the defence of “out of context”, but then added: “It’s all been well documented. It’s all on video. It’s not like I’m pre-fabricating.
“The drop wasn’t close to where it should be. And on course on TV it doesn’t lie.”
Montgomerie’s reaction to that was far from surprising.
Before going out to practise for what could be the last Open of his career, he said: “It’s a rather strange apology to be honest with you.
“It’s nothing much to do with me at all – it’s all Sandy.
“I’ve read it and I’m digesting it and I’ll let you know when I’ve digested it further.
“I’ve nothing much to say. I’m just trying to come down here and compete in the Open and my preparations have been slightly dented.
“I’m not very happy about that at all.”
Montgomerie gave his prize money to charity after the incident of his “wrong drop” came to light and the European Tour players’ committee expressed their dissatisfaction with his actions at the time.
The eight-time European number one had hoped back then a line would be drawn under what became known as “Jakartagate”. He could never have thought it would cause such a storm again now.
What Montgomerie thinks of his fellow Scot for raising the matter again is probably only for those closest to him.
He was due to attend the annual dinner of the Association of Golf Writers tonight but informed organisers during the day he would not now be coming.
Lyle said he had tried to speak to Montgomerie but the mobile number he had was “wiped out”.
His attempts will continue. Lyle added: “He’s the one I’ve hurt and he’s obviously pretty cheesed off right now.
“That’s not my intentions to do that at all. I’m in full support of him being Ryder Cup captain.”
Asked if he thought Montgomerie, unanimously chosen by the players’ committee in January in preference to Lyle, should now resign, he replied: “No. I don’t think he should jeopardise his Ryder Cup position right now.
“It’s just something that will be history in a few more days’ time – and the game of golf will grow stronger.”
Montgomerie, though, has 15 more months before the Americans defend the trophy at Celtic Manor in Wales and what Lyle may have ensured is that the incident will be discussed even more between now and then.
Former captain Bernard Gallacher – another Scot – had no doubt which side to take.
In a series of radio, television and newspaper interviews, he commented: “Sandy, unfortunately, is bitter at not being given the captaincy and what he has now done is below the belt for me.
“Monty’s explanation for what happened in the Indonesian Open was accepted by a forthright committee and, at that point, everyone should have put the matter behind them.
“I am sorry to say it, but Sandy is out of order. It is very poor what he has done, especially in the week of the Open Championship, and someone really needs to give Sandy some advice.”
Viktor Hovland goes back-to-back in the Bahamas with Hero World Challenge win
The Norwegian held off Scottie Scheffler to win by two shots.
Home favourite Thriston Lawrence survives late scare to win South African Open
The South African beat Clement Sordet by one stroke.
Adrian Meronk wins Australian Open as playing partner Adam Scott misses out
Home favourite Scott held a one-shot lead going into the final round at Victoria GC but Meronk shot 66 to win by five strokes.
Poland’s Adrian Meronk eclipses Adam Scott to win Australian Open
Despite taking the lead into Sunday, Scott was ultimately unable to repel Meronk’s challenge.
Thriston Lawrence and Clement Sordet set for final-day battle at South African Open
Thriston Lawrence leads his playing partner by two shots.
Adam Scott leads Australian Open ahead of Adrian Meronk
Scott moved to 11 under on Saturday, one stroke better than Meronk at the summit.
Adam Scott equals course record to share halfway lead at Australian Open
Scott carded five birdies and an eagle on the 18th at Victoria Golf Club.
Hole-in-one helps Tom McKibbin make strong start in South Africa
The 19-year-old holed out with a five iron from 232 yards on the 11th hole.
A nice birdie-fest – Tiger Woods expecting low scoring Hero World Challenge
Woods withdrew on Monday due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Adam Scott relishing chance to experience a career first at the Australian Open
The tournament sees men, women and golfers with disabilities competing on the same course at the same time.