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Sandy Lyle offers Colin Montgomerie his support

Twice major champion Sandy Lyle, who lost out to Colin Montgomerie for Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy after being backed by him for the job, gave his full support to his fellow Briton on Thursday.

Lyle is the only one of Europe’s ‘famous five’ of the 1980s — himself, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam—not to have been made cup captain.

Lyle, 51 next month, said in a statement to Reuters: “Although I am disappointed personally not to have been given the 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy, I am genuinely delighted for Colin Montgomerie, who has my wholehearted congratulations and support.

“Colin will be an excellent captain and I wish him every success in leading the European team to victory in Wales next year.”

Montgomerie, 45, had backed Lyle for captain at Celtic Manor in Wales next year, and said he preferred to try to play his way into the 2010 team. He was appointed on Wednesday.

The main reason Lyle lost out on the 2010 captaincy was because he no longer plays on the main European Tour and has lost touch with the candidates for next year’s team.

Lyle, the 1985 British Open and 1988 U.S. Masters champion, has little chance of getting the job in the future.

He may, however, be given an assistant’s role by Montgomerie, who has so far only named Jose Maria Olazabal in his back-up team, for Celtic Manor.

Lyle was assistant to Woosnam for Europe’s crushing 2006 win at the K Club in Ireland.

Europe, led by Faldo, lost 16 1/2-11 1/2 to Paul Azinger’s U.S. team at Valhalla, Kentucky, last year, the first win for the Americans in the biennial event since 1999.

That defeat looks to have signalled an appetite for European captains who are still active on the main tour rather than former greats who plied their trade in the senior ranks.


January 29, 2009

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