Poor old Sandy Lyle. On the day the 50-year-old was supposed to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Britain's first ever Masters victory, he found himself being dumped on from a great height by the very Tour he helped to establish. Yesterday, the news was leaked that Jose Maria Olazabal had been offered the European captaincy for the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales. After Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and now Nick Faldo, Lyle was the only member of the so-called "Big Five" not to have held the honour. He is now resigned to the fact that he never will. "This is my last chance," he said recently. There is always the chance, of course, that Olazabal will defer the opportunity but with all his current injury problems that seems doubtful. Sources at Celtic Manor expressed surprise at the revelation, although that had nothing to do with Olazabal's captaincy credentials. The theory went that Olazabal would be saved for an American renewal as he has all the statesmanlike qualities required for the "away" fixture. That would have left the way clear for Lyle, who won the 1985 Open and the 1988 Masters, to take charge in Newport. Nice theory, nasty reality. There was widespread sympathy for the Scotsman here yesterday. "It's going to be such a shame if Sandy doesn't get the opportunity to have the captaincy," said Woosnam. "I know he deserves it. Look what he's done. He's the first Briton to win the Masters, and the first to win the Open since Tony Jacklin. He's done a lot for golf in Britain and Europe. He deserves to be captain."
Azinger shows class
While on the subject of Ryder Cup captains, Paul Azinger is proving just what it takes to hold the position with honour. First you bleat to a British newspaper about what you think about your opposing captain, using the word "prick" in the process. Then you use the old "out of context" excuse when the brown stuff hits the air con. And then you vent your fury at the next journalist with an English accent to ask for a word. "Excuse me Paul, would you be prepared to talk to a British newspaper?" came the request. "Not in a million fucking years," came Azinger's reply.
Boo Weekley's daily diary in the Augusta Chronicle has been required reading this week. How about this from yesterday? "What's Amen Corner?" asked Boo. "Why is that corner? It should be 12, 13, 14 shouldn't it? There you go, you got me."