Monty put off by Lyle row

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie has admitted Sandy Lyle's derogatory comments about him this week have affected his game at the Open in Turnberry.

The eight-time European number one's name has been in the headlines all week but for the wrong reasons after his fellow Scot called him a cheat and "a drama queen".

Lyle, 51, said that when Montgomerie incorrectly replaced his ball after a weather delay in Jakarta four years ago it was "a form of what you would call cheating".

The 1985 Open champion subsequently made a statement in which he did not apologise for what he had said and then yesterday he called Montgomerie "a drama queen".

Montgomerie shot rounds of 71 and 74 to stand at five over for the tournament and in danger of missing the cut.

When asked if he had been distracted by Lyle's comments the 46-year-old replied: "Very much so, yes."

The row blew up when Lyle was asked if his decision to walk out of last year's Open at Royal Birkdale mid-round in atrocious weather complaining about problems with his hands had jeopardised his chances of becoming Ryder Cup captain.

That job was given to Montgomerie earlier this year but Lyle said he still held out hope of being involved behind the scenes.

Those chances are now non-existent, however, after the man leading Europe at Celtic Manor in 2010 had his say.

"I thought it was amusing this morning - and this is the last thing I want to say on the matter - that he hopes it (the row over his comments) doesn't jeopardise his vice-captaincy position," said Montgomerie.

"I thought that was very funny."

The Scot was disappointed with his golf this week, adding: "The last six birdies I've had I've followed them with six bogeys.

"You can't do that. You feel you are making one step forward only to go two steps back unfortunately."

Lyle, who is eight over and will not be returning for the weekend said after his round today he wanted to end the simmering row.

"I feel sorry for Colin in some ways. I don't want to keep stirring the pot but I keep opening my mouth and making back pages," said the 1988 Masters winner.

"I think we have to call an end and it will all be dealt with behind the scenes.

"Through managers we will make some contact but [Montgomerie's] mobile number might be hard to get right now and even if I ring I'm not sure he will answer it.

"I have to know what he is feeling like. I would think he will be well and truly fuelled after the headlines this morning.

"But I think we've seen enough and we need to get on and play golf.

"A lot of us know he is an emotional person and gets a bit hot under the collar and little comments like this in the papers don't help.

"But he'll get over it, he is a big enough boy. I think he has been in the game long enough."

Lyle denied this was the worst week he had had at an Open - that came a year ago in Southport.

That, in part, sparked this week's row as he was asked whether he felt it had cost him the Ryder Cup captaincy.

"I was asked about jeopardising the captaincy of the Ryder Cup by walking of the course and I said Monty was not exactly squeaky clean and he has had his troubles as well," he added.

"I don't really regret saying it. It was light-hearted, it was not a full-out blast at Colin. We are actually quite good buddies, we are not enemies.

"I've always liked to say what I feel but I won't stir it any more. It has been done now and we have to face the music.

"I'll get on with my game, he'll get on with his and it will all be forgotten in a couple of months' time."