Golf: Languishing Lyle determined to do it his way: A Ryder Cup place is beckoning for the European competitors in the Scottish Open today

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The Independent Online
SANDY LYLE and Ian Woosnam entered the Bell's Scottish Open, which starts here this morning, only a matter of hours before the deadline. Prior to their acceptance, their management company, International Management Group, had been in negotiation with the sponsors.

Appearance money officially does not exist and the sponsors say that players who expect to get rewarded simply for turning up are not being paid to play. Lyle, who has played in only five tournaments in Europe this season, was vague on the subject of what, if anything, Bell's was giving him. 'I always intended to play here,' Lyle said. 'I was a late entry because there were still some negotiations. All the events are relatively straightforward from now on although there could be some negotiations if I win the Open.'

The Open, which is being held at Royal St George's, Sandwich, next week, was won by Lyle the last time it was held on the Kent course, in 1985. 'I have not really played enough golf to be able to realistically win the Open,' Lyle said. 'I really needed four or five weeks more but you never know with the majors.' You would not put money on him.

About the only way Lyle would get into the Ryder Cup team is if he won the Open but he is not that bothered about the match against the United States. He will play in only four more events before the team is announced. Last week, Bernard Gallacher, the captain of Europe, said he was disappointed that Lyle had not made a more vigorous effort to qualify. 'What am I thinking about?' Lyle said. 'What is he thinking about? I don't want to be played out. I thought he was looking for experience. I haven't been playing too badly.' Nor too well, nor too frequently.

'I am just doing it my way,' Lyle said. 'I have been doing it my way for 20-odd years. I am not going to play myself stupid to get into the team. I am going to try but not bust my brains over it. It can do more harm than good.' Earlier this year, Lyle bought a massive house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It has 56 rooms, which all need decorating. Lyle is not sure how many bedrooms it has. 'Nine or 10,' he said.

Seve Ballesteros would also have to do something drastic to qualify for the Ryder Cup team on merit although he has now gone on record as saying he would be honoured to accept one of Gallacher's three wild cards. The Ryder Cup, for which the players do not get paid, has become one of golf's great attractions but as for the rest of the European Tour, Ballesteros is becoming more and more critical. One of the devices for getting around appearance money is an American import called the shoot- out, in which those who are being paid by the sponsors play an abbreviated knock-out. 'It's a complete joke,' Ballesteros said. He played in one prior to the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth, was knocked out early and felt embarrassed. He declined to play in the shoot-out that preceded the Carrolls Irish Open at Mount Juliet last week. 'We are copying the American Tour too much and it is making things worse not better,' Ballesteros said. 'The season is too long and it will ruin not make careers.'

BSkyB Television will broadcast the 1995 Ryder Cup live from the United States. The PGA European Tour said yesterday that Sky will have exclusive live access to 10 of the major events on the Volvo Tour over the next three years, including the Ryder Cup from Rochester, New York.

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