'It Wasn't Even Over My Knee!' Sandy Lyle Laughs Off Masters Club Break

The Scot had a nightmare start to his final Masters, but was still able to joke about it afterwards

Sandy Lyle stands with his caddie during the first round of the 2023 Masters
Sandy Lyle's club snapped on his second shot during the first round of the 2023 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Scottish legend Sandy Lyle’s Masters swansong got off to the worst possible start when he snapped a club after just two shots. 

The 65-year-old’s tee shot left him in trouble, with the ball resting beneath a trunk among trees to the right of the fairway. Eventually, he opted for an unfamiliar left-handed shot to get out of danger, only to hit a cameraman, which saw the ball rest not far from the tree he was standing beside. Worse was to come, though, when it transpired that Lyle had snapped his club while taking the shot.

The 65-year-old eventually bogeyed the hole, which was a creditable result given the circumstances. He then went on to par the following two but finished with a round of 81 to leave him well off the pace at nine-over. However, Lyle at least retained a sense of humour over the incident that set him back from the start.

He said: “First hole, and it wasn't even over my knee! Just hit it wide. I nearly always pulled it off the first hole, and this time I actually hit the other shape. So the brain got in the way, blocked it to the right. And I thought, well, it's just maybe far enough where I could be clear, but obviously I wasn't.”

Lyle then offered his take on the ill-fated second shot. He said: “I had a four-inch bough of a tree that comes down from somewhere, and my ball was sitting right underneath it. I got just about enough ball before I get the tree. I thought, if I can get the left-handed 8-iron to it, not full whack, but just a short, stubby bang. Timed it perfectly and obviously hit the bough. I hit a cameraman somewhere about 15 yards away, and dropped down still in trouble.”

The 1988 Masters winner admitted his club break had been a first, too, saying: “It's the first one I've broken here, yeah. It's the first one. Taken 40 years to do it, but it's happened.”

While there was no more drama to that degree as Lyle’s round continued, he admitted he had not played his best. He said: “Very substandard golf. I was very disappointed. I thought some of my iron shots on the range would be perfect for some of the holes.”

Meanwhile, he was frank on his chances of making the cut, saying: “That's gone. That is totally gone. I've just got to try and maybe even shoot a 72 just to see if the game's not too bad and give it a go. And at least don't get in the way of the two people I'm playing with.”

Considering the two people in question are LIV Golfers Talor Gooch and Jason Kokrak, coupled with the eventful start to the opening round Lyle had, it’s anyone’s guess what fate has in store for him on what, even by his own admittance, will almost certainly be his final Augusta National round on Friday.

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.