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Sandy Lyle support for Montgomerie

Sandy Lyle, the former Open and US Masters champion, yesterday reminded his troubled fellow-Scot Colin Montgomerie not to be too hard on himself and learn to accept that every professional goes through a sticky patch during his career.

As Montgomerie considered what to do next after a disappointing Open championship - he was thinking over whether or not to defend his Volvo Scandinavian Masters title in Stockholm next month - perhaps no-one in golf was better placed than Lyle to understand the man from Troon’s sense of frustration.

Knowing what it’s like to spend years in the wilderness after reaching the pinnacle of the sport, Lyle said: "Colin has enjoyed a great career over the years but sometimes the seas get rough. We all have ups and downs - it’s something you’ve just got to put up with.

"Perhaps he’s been too hard on himself and building things up too much. He might have to jiggle the brainbox now and then. And it might not do any harm to talk to someone."

Stressing that as a seven-time Order of Merit winner Monty was hardly in need of advice from anyone, Lyle also observed that it might be a mistake for the Ryder Cup man to change too much since his competitive nature is what made him such a successful player in the first place.

Montgomerie, who followed up a course record 64 with an 84 at Muirfield, left Gullane on Sunday complaining about press coverage and indicated that he would pull out of tournaments because "I can’t handle it any more".

Last night, the Scot met with his manager, Guy Kinnings, in London for talks about what his next moves will be, but he was unable to reach a decision.

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