Sandy Lyle has admitted that that he fought back tears as he waved goodbye to the Open Championship.
The 1985 champion bowed out in some style, too, birdieing the final hole courtesy of a stunning putt that broke hard from left to right to the delight of the galleries.
Lyle, whose past champion exemption expires when he turns 61 in February, pulled out a tissue and jokingly wiped away tears from his eyes as he acknowledged the crowds – then conceded that actual waterworks weren’t particularly far away.
“I managed to stay away from crying but there was definitely a lump in the throat,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. It’s quite a spectacular view to come down there.”
Lyle was given the honour of hitting the opening tee shot of the championship yesterday morning but won’t be around for the weekend after posting rounds of 75 and 76 to sit on nine-over after 36 holes.
He hinted that he may attempt to qualify for future editions of the tournament – “I might just give it a run in the next few years” – but added that this was probably his 43rd and final appearance in golf’s oldest major.
“I’ve accepted that this is going to be, most likely, the last one,” he said. “But television is so good these days. You can see so much more!”