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Sandy Lyle backs Monty for 2014 Ryder Cup
March 23, 2011

Colin Montgomerie said “never again” after leading Europe to Ryder Cup glory last year but twice major winner Sandy Lyle is still tipping his fellow Scot to return as captain for the 2014 edition at Gleneagles.

Montgomerie lives close to the Scottish course and Lyle believes his local knowledge and his Ryder Cup win in Wales in 2010 make him the prime candidate to replace Jose Maria Olazabal after the Spaniard leads the team in the U.S. next year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Colin gets invited back,” Lyle told Reuters in an interview. “He knows the course, the surrounding area, what’s needed there and what’s not needed.

“I think he would be the man to choose unless someone like Darren Clarke or Paul McGinley feels he is next in line.”

Northern Irishman Clarke and Ireland’s McGinley were two of Montgomerie’s vice-captains at Celtic Manor in 2010.

Although Montgomerie said it would be the one and only occasion he would captain Europe’s Ryder Cup team, Lyle believes he may get the urge to take on the role again at Gleneagles.

“Several years will have passed by then, a lot of water will have passed under the bridge since Monty took charge in Wales and he may have a change of heart,” said the winner of the 1985 British Open and 1988 U.S. Masters.

“He may feel that is a moment in his life when he can still do the Ryder Cup. If he’s not doing that well with his own golf game he might feel he would like to be captain again,” added Lyle.

“I would not put it pass the European Tour to invite him again.”

The two Scots were involved in a long-running dispute after Lyle was overlooked for the 2010 captaincy.

Lyle was forced to apologise after saying in an interview with the Daily Mirror that fellow countryman Montgomerie had “cheated” in a tournament in Indonesia several years earlier.

Montgomerie responded by describing the apology as “strange” before Lyle reopened the row by calling the eight-times European number one a “drama queen”.

During the 2005 Indonesian Open, television replays indicated Montgomerie had incorrectly replaced his ball after an overnight weather delay.

After seeing video footage of the episode, he agreed he had made an innocent mistake and decided to give his $40,000 prize money to the Tsunami Appeal.

“I haven’t spoken to Colin for a couple of years but that’s all gone now,” Lyle told Reuters this week. “As far as I am concerned it’s all in the past.

“I don’t worry about it any more really but I’m not sure how it would go if we ever met in some tournament car park somewhere — that might be a bit interesting.”

Lyle played in five Ryder Cups between 1979-87 and was also a vice-captain to Ian Woosnam when Europe beat the U.S. in Ireland in 2006.

Many pundits and fans believe he has done enough in his career to merit being skipper one day but the 53-year-old feels his time has now passed.

“I think the captaincy is dead and gone for me,” said Lyle. “Jose Maria will be in charge in 2012 and by the time of Gleneagles I will be around 55-56.

“Unless the European Tour have a change of heart I won’t be pushing myself one little bit. I’m not even thinking about it.

“The Ryder Cup is like a distant memory for me. I’ve had some great years playing in it and also being deputy to ‘Woosie’ in 2006,” said Lyle.

“But as far as the captaincy is concerned I think my chances are virtually zero now.”

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