Sandy Lyle (1 Open, 1 Masters, 5 Ryder Cup's.)


Alexander Walter Barr "Sandy" Lyle, MBE (born 9 February 1958) is a Scottish professional golfer. Lyle has won two major championships during his career. Along with Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam, he became one of Britain's top golfers during the 1980s. He spent 167 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking from its introduction, in 1986, until 1989.[1] Lyle was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in May 2012.[2]

Lyle was born in Shrewsbury, England and now lives in Scotland with his wife Jolande and children Lonneke and Quintin. He represented Scotland during his professional career. He was introduced to golf by his father, Alex, who had taken the family from Scotland to England in 1955 when he became resident professional at Hawkstone Park golf course. Their family home was just 40 yards from the pro-shop and 18th green. He began playing with miniature clubs at the age of 3. At schoolboy, junior and amateur level Lyle represented England . As an amateur Lyle made his debut in The Open Championship at age 16 in 1974, and won the Brabazon Trophy in 1975 and 1977. He was a member of the Walker Cup team for both 1975 and 1977.

In 1977 he turned professional and decided to represent Scotland. He was medalist at the 1977 Qualifying School tournament for the European Tour. His first professional win came in the 1978 Nigerian Open, and he also won the Sir Henry Cotton Award as European Rookie of the Year that season. Lyle attained the first of an eventual 18 European Tour titles in 1979.

Lyle partnered with Sam Torrance for Scotland to finish runner-up at the World Cup of Golf team event in both 1979 and 1980; in the latter year Lyle captured the low individual trophy in that event.

Lyle showed his quality by winning The Open Championship at Royal St George's Golf Club in 1985. He was the first British winner since Tony Jacklin in 1969, and continued the rise of European golfers in the world scene.

Lyle was a member of five European Ryder Cup teams, from 1979 to 1987 inclusive. Highlights from those years included the team that was victorious at the Belfry in the autumn of 1985, and the 1987 team which won for the first time ever on American soil, at Muirfield Village.

For many golf fans he is best known for the bunker shot at the 18th hole in the final round of the Masters in 1988 when he became the first Briton to wear the green jacket.[3] He also won two other events on the PGA Tour that season, along with the World Match Play Championship, after being a losing finalist on several occasions.

Lyle topped the European Tour's order of merit in 1979, 1980 and 1985. He finished in the top ten nine times between 1979 and 1992. He was also a member of the PGA Tour for several years and finished seventh on the US money list in 1988, despite a limited playing schedule. He won the 1987 Tournament Players Championship, one of the most prestigious American titles. Lyle's form dropped after 1992, when he was 34, and he has not won a significant event since.

As a player, Lyle is known for his cool temperament and placid exterior. In his peak years, he was very long from the tee and through the set, and had enough accuracy to master any course. His achievements inspired fellow rivals such as Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam to raise their games, and go on to win the majors. Lyle published his first book, "To the Fairway Born" in 2006. In the same year he was assistant captain to Ian Woosnam when Europe won the Ryder Cup. He had been hoping to be picked as the captain for the 2010 European Ryder Cup team but missed out to Colin Montgomerie.[4]

In July 2009, Lyle got into a very public row with Colin Montgomerie where he unfavourably compared Montgomerie's actions at the Indonesian Open four years previously with his own actions in not completing a round at the 2008 Open Championship.[5] Reaction to this was mixed with some players supporting Lyle while other players and commentators felt that Lyle's timing was unfortunate and that any point he may have had was lost in the ensuing controversy.[6]

On turning 50 in 2008, Lyle played on the Champions Tour[7] and the European Senior Tour.

Lyle won his first tournament in 19 years when he captured his first European Senior Tour title at the 2011 ISPS Handa Senior World Championship, held in China.[8]