Open Championship 2013 blog: meeting Sandy Lyle

Jeremy Ellwood gets to sit down with 1985 champion Sandy Lyle on the eve of The Open before wandering out to check out the opening and closing holes

Sandy Lyle

Getting up almost at the crack of dawn the night after the annual golf writers' dinner would have been a much bigger ask had I not been granted an interview with a two-time British Major winner I'd never before had the chance to speak to in 11 years with the magazine. The hot water in the shower failing to kick in may have been a blessing in disguise, and I was thankfully fully alert by the time I got to sit down with Alexander Walter Barr Lyle.

Approachable, and more than happy to chat (a relative rarity for a player during Open week), we covered a whole host of topics for a forthcoming magazine feature from his early rivalries with Woosie and Faldo to his two Major wins, and from his Ryder Cup memories and future hopes to equipment issues, in particular his new Bridgestone ball.

After photos had been taken, I wandered out onto the course to check out a few more holes, but when you work in the industry, it's often difficult to get more than a few yards without bumping into someone you know for a chat, on this occasion the guys from Strokesaver who helped us enormously by providing the flythru videos we used in our Muirfield hole-by-hole guide.

Eventually we made it down the 1st , and across to the 17th tee where the trio of Joost Luiten, Nicolas Colsaerts and Chris Wood were teeing off on the longest hole on the course, with only Wood using a wood. All seemed to get up with relative ease though, showing just how far the ball is running on fairways that are firm and fast, if not quite to a ‘Hoylake 2006' standard just yet.

Wandering back across 18 we watched as Miguel Angel Jimenez played his approach shot, then paused for a relaxed photo session looking up the fairway to the grand clubhouse, with, I'm guessing, his kids. What the Spaniard wouldn't give for more photos here with the Claret Jug on Sunday night as the oldest ever champion. Would there ever be a more popular winner? I suspect not...

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response