Sandy Lyle gets 147th Open underway on 'farewell' appearance

Sandy Lyle

The backswing is a good deal shorter than it once was and the tour bag has been replaced with an off-the-shelf stand bag. 

Be that as it may, Sandy Lyle demonstrated he’s lost none of his nerve as he got The 147th Open underway at Carnoustie this morning. 

After a brief warm-up and inexplicably clad in an Open-branded rain jacket on a flat calm, bone dry morning – the likes of which are rare in these parts – the 1985 ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ arrived on the first tee at precisely 6.30am. The Claret Jug stood guard on a plinth on the corner of the tee box as a near-full grandstand showed its appreciation for Scotland’s only post-War multiple major champion with hearty applause.

• Get to know Carnoustie courtesy of 2007 Open champion, Padraig Harrington

Sandy Lyle Warm Up

Five minutes later, it was that time. 

On the tee from Scotland - Sandy Lyle.

Out rang the cheers once again. It be two days shy of the 33rd anniversary of his victory at Royal St George’s and many in the stands might not have born when he lifted golf’s most iconic prize on the Kent coast but Lyle, on what is likely to be his final Open appearance, is as respected by the home galleries as ever. 

• Gary Player weighs in on Tiger's prospects at Carnoustie

• R&A chief warns Mickelson against a repeat of US Open antics

It was a confident opening salvo, too. He hammered an iron down the middle of the fairway with little faff or fuss.  A perfect start.

Sandy Lyle Opening Tee Shot Sandy Lyle Bridge

He leaked his approach into the rough on the right of the green, short-siding himself somewhat and leaving a tricky up-and-down for par. 

Again, he rolled back the years, craftily chipping up to a foot from the hole before converting his putt for a par. 

• The coolest things you can buy in The Open Shop

• Patrick Reed surprised to have support from Scottish crowd

Having turned 60 in February past, this marks the final year of Lyle’s Open exemption as a past champion. Barring a top ten finish this week or victory in next week’s Senior Open at St Andrews, this is likely to be his 43rd and final Open appearance.  

His name, though, will forever be etched on the Claret Jug. 

Golf News

Justin Thomas reveals how he gets under Tiger’s skin
The full teams & contenders for the 2018 World Cup of Golf
Catriona Matthew reveals third Solheim Cup vice-captain
Off to Abu Dhabi! bunkered Fantasy Golf '18 champion is crowned
Rory McIlroy mulls over year in reflective Instagram post

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods puts new irons in the bag
New Fife golf course gets go ahead
Review: Adare Manor, Ireland's rejuvenated masterpiece
Win a spot in the ASI Scottish Open Pro-Am with Hilton
Padraig Harrington targets 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Quick tips with Denis Pugh and Peter Barber See all videos right arrow

play button
Denis Pugh’s tips for swinging on plane
Watch
play button
Peter Barber’s advice for older golfers
Callaway
play button
Denis Pugh’s stepping-stone to better golf
Watch
play button
A simple takeaway drill from Peter Barber
Watch
See all videos right arrow