The emotions are pretty high – Sandy Lyle heads into retirement
Sandy Lyle admitted emotions were running high after bringing an end to his career in unusual circumstances as the 87th Masters resumed on Saturday.
Lyle, who had already announced his intention to retire, was faced with a 12-foot putt for par on the 18th green when play was suspended for the second time on Friday afternoon.
No further play was possible, and amazingly no spectators were injured when three trees fell across the 17th tee in high winds, meaning Lyle had to complete his 42nd Masters appearance at 8am in front of a handful of people.
The 1988 champion missed the par attempt and tapped in for a round of 83 using a replica of the putter with which he secured victory 35 years ago.
“It’s a shame we didn’t get a chance to finish yesterday, but that’s just the way it is,” said Lyle, who admitted to feeling the effects of “a lot of tequila and a bit of whiskey tasting” which ended seven hours before his 18th-green cameo.
“I needed about another 30 seconds probably and I would have had the chance to hit the putt.”
Playing partner Jason Kokrak had accused tournament officials of ruining what would have been a cool moment for Lyle, telling Golf.com on Friday evening that “it’s chicken s***”.
“We tried to talk to the official that, you know, please, let us finish,” Lyle added. “But, no, they stuck to the rules and rules are rules and we had to abide by that.”
Asked how he felt after bringing down the curtain on his glittering career, the two-time major winner said: “The emotions are pretty high.
“As you look back at it, it’s gone very quick since ’88, but it’s never let me down. From winning the tournament you really appreciate how big the Masters is, the memories, the way you’re treated as a past champion.
“I’m looking forward to coming back here every year for the champions dinner, to play the par-three course and play on the Sunday (before the Masters).
“Maybe in time they will have another little tournament going on within the Masters tournament for the over 60s. You never know. Play off the front tees. It would be entertaining.”
Lyle had at least been able to enjoy a slightly premature farewell on Friday afternoon, waving and blowing a kiss to the spectators around the 18th green.
“I think it was the right thing to do, wasn’t it, to say something back to the patrons,” Lyle said. “They have been very good, very knowledgeable of the game of golf.
“I’ve probably been miserable a few times when I come off the 18th and I want to go and bang my head into a wall somewhere, but other times it’s been great.
“They have been very supportive and more noticeable probably yesterday. They all stood up coming up the 18th and Jason Kokrak stood by the green and clapped for me all the way from there.
“So they’re nice memories and I’m going away with, going home with a good feeling.”
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