One of the more entertaining events of last week’s Open championship was the regular Sandy lyle interview where (a) he suggested chubby funster Colin Montgomerie (a man who swears at young children watching golf with their parents according to one friend who followed him for a hole – and then left with said small child after some invective from golf’s Mr Charm (could this be why the Americans don’t like him?)) had cheated at a tournament in 2005; (b) apologised for upsetting Monty’s preparation (but not for his comments); (c) apologised again for Monty’s preparations but suggested he’d made a meal of it, and every knows Monty’s a bit of a drama queen.
With each entertaining interview from Lyle (and the criticism of Lyle from the golfing establishment) my sympathy went out to him. Gary Evans – who I seem to recall used to do work for Five Live (not there now though) – had made a similar point but golf had closed ranks. The players and commentators made great issue of the honour of the golfer (moreso than snooker?). People didn’t try to get an advantage. Nobody cheated. And suggestions that you did were viewed as highly defamatory.
So why did Lyle and Evans make the point? Both Lyle and Evans were professionals that had no vested interest in avoiding criticising Monty, because both were unlikely to participate in the Ryder Cup, where Monty has become captain. Both had a freedom to speak as they found.
I am no golfer, but have a general sporting interest and my thoughts were well articulated in an excellent Scotland on Sunday article yesterday by Tom English.
So what is all the fuss about? Well, thanks to the wonder of modern technology you can view the incident. Monty needed to score highly in the tournament to win a place in the US Open. As you will see he initially had a very tricky lie and his stance required him to stand in a bunker, but with the onset of thunder marched off the course without marking his ball. So where does he replace the ball when he returns the following day.
Was Sandy Lyle wrong?