On 7th May 2015, Sir Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle accepted invitations to become honorary members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
On May 7th it was announced that Sir Nick Faldo MBE and Sandy Lyle MBE had accepted invitations to become honorary members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
A delighted Faldo said, “St Andrews frames many of my most treasured memories in golf including those of my second Open win 25 years ago. I am honoured to receive this invitation and look forward to celebrating nearly 40 years as a professional at the home of golf in July.”
Lyle too expressed his delight at the news: “It was a lifetime ambition for me to win The Open and I will never forget how it felt to lift the Claret Jug. Golf has given me a great deal over the years and I feel privileged to have been invited to become part of this great Club.”
Faldo and Lyle may both have been made honorary members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at the same time, but who achieved what first throughout their careers? Here’s a brief summary/timeline of who hit the various defining milestones first…
Nick Faldo was born on 18th July 1957. Sandy was born nearly seven months later on 9th February 1958.
Walker Cup debut
Lyle played on the 1977 team at Shinnecock Hills, losing all three of his matches. Faldo never played in the Walker Cup.
Faldo was first here – he turned pro in 1976 while Lyle made the move a year later.
European Tour Rookie of the Year
The pair claimed the honour in consecutive years – Faldo in 1977 and Lyle the following year.
European Tour wins
The first of Faldo’s 30 European Tour wins came in the 1977 Skol Lager Individual at Gleneagles. The first of Lyle’s 18 European Tour wins was the 1979 BA/Avis Open at La Moye, Jersey
European Tour Order of Merit
Lyle was the first to achieve this goal, claiming the first of his three crowns in 1979. Faldo had to wait till 1983 to be crowned king of Europe, topping the rankings again in 1992.
Regular PGA Tour victories
Setting the Majors aside, Faldo first triumphed on American soil in the 1984 Sea Pines Heritage event, the first of just three regular PGA Tour victories. Lyle pipped him by one here, with the first of his four coming in the 1986 Greater Greensboro Open
Ryder Cup debut
Faldo first lined up for GB&I at Royal Lytham in 1977, winning all three of his matches, including victory over Tom Watson in the singles. By the time Lyle made his debut two years later at The Greenbrier, it was a European team. Lyle won one and a half points out of four, falling to Lee Trevino in the singles.
Open Championship victory
Again, it was Lyle who was first to the Green Jacket thanks to his famous 7-iron bunker shot in 1988. The following year he was handing the jacket to Faldo who outlasted Scott Hoch in a play-off.
Third, fourth, fifth and sixth Majors
Only Faldo here, for while Lyle’s Major assault dried up in 1988, Faldo went on to claim four more between 1990 and 1996 (two more Opens and two more Masters).
World number one
The first of Faldo’s 97 weeks at number one came in September 1990. He held the spot for 81 consecutive weeks between July 1992 and February 1994. Lyle never made it to number one, peaking at number two in the later 1980s, but the rankings didn’t start until nine months after his Open victory in 1985.
Sandy Lyle’s first Open victory for Britain in 16 years was good enough to see him honoured in 1987. Faldo had to wait until 1998, but has, of course, since gone on to become Sir Nick Faldo following 2009’s Knight Bachelor award.
World Golf Hall of Fame
The roles were reversed here with Faldo’s six Majors getting him in in 1997. Lyle had to wait until 2012 to join him.
Ryder Cup captaincy
Faldo got the nod in 2008, though things didn’t turn out so well at Valhalla! Lyle, it seems, will now never get the opportunity to lead Europe.
European Senor Tour wins
Sandy Lyle claimed his solitary seniors success in the 2011 ISPS Handa Senior World Championship. Faldo, who has played a very limited senior schedule, has never tasted victory since turning 50.