Colin Montgomerie in a spat with Sandy Lyle over cheating comments

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Just two days before the start of the British Open, Sandy Lyle apologized to Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie for bringing up a 4-year-old incident in which his fellow Scot was accused of cheating.
 
That said, Lyle didnt back away from his belief that Montgomerie placed his ball in the wrong position after a rain delay at the 2005 Indonesian Open.
 
Montgomerie was cleared by rules officials but issued an apology and donated his prize money to charity.
 
I didnt prefabricate this thing, Lyle said Tuesday. Im only going from what other people have said, and it was a pretty poor drop. And it was one of his mistakes. I didnt make him do that mistake. It was his mistake. And it will probably live with him for the rest of his life.
 
Lyles comments are sure to strain relations between the two golfers, who both lobbied to be captain of the European team at the 2010 Ryder Cup. Montgomerie got the nod, and some wondered if Lyle was hurt by his decision to pull out of last years British Open after he played the first 10 holes at 11 over par.
 
Its a rather strange apology, to be honest with you, Montgomerie told British media. Im just trying to come down here and compete in the Open and my preparations have been slightly dented. Im not very happy about that at all.
 
Lyle said his comments, made last week and published Tuesday by several British newspapers, stemmed from his frustration over being asked repeatedly about last years Open. So he brought up the 2005 tournament in Jakarta, which was halted by rain with Montgomerie facing a difficult shot off the slope of a bunker.
 
The next day, Montgomerie replaced his ball in a spot that appeared to provide a more favorable stance. He wound up getting the finish he needed to remain among the top 50 in the world rankings, good enough for a spot in the Masters.
 
Monty dropped the ball badly and that is a form of cheating, Lyle said in the interview. What he did was far worse than withdrawing from a tournament.
 
Lyle, who won the British Open in 1985 and the Masters in 1988, wasnt even planning to be at Turnberry on Tuesday. But he showed up for a hastily called news conference to read a statement and take questions. The media room was packed with more reporters than the 51-year-old Lyle has likely dealt with in two decades.
 
Colin Montgomerie and I are not at war. Colin is a great champion and a good friend, Lyle said. I was trying to make the point by comparison that neither of these incidents had anything to do with the selection of the current Ryder Cup captain.
 
I deeply regret making this comparison and apologize to Colin for involving him in my own issue. I feel especially bad if I have jeopardized his preparation for the Open championship.
 
Lyle said he had not been able to reach Montgomerie to make a personal apology, though he believes they will meet at some point this week.
 
Hes kept behind the scenes at the moment. I did try but have not succeeded, Lyle said. I hope our friendship is still there.
 
When Lyle withdrew from last years Open at Birkdale, he didnt mention anything about an injury. He now says an ailing hand caused him to drop out ' not his poor play and the miserable conditions.
 
Lyles withdrawal stirred up plenty of debate, and there was speculation that it might have cost him the Ryder Cup job.
 
My real mistake last year was not explaining the injury when I retired, he said. It was my belief that last years incident had nothing to do with the selection of the current Ryder Cup captain.
 
Lyle said he actually congratulated Montgomerie when they played at last weeks Scottish Open.
 
Ive got no vendetta against Colin at all. Im all for him, Lyle said. The last thing he wants right now is having all this baloney going on right now before he tees off this week.
 
Lyle said he was only trying to protect myself when I get called a quitter. As for Montgomerie, there was an apology but no backing off from the cheating claims.
 
I dont think you need me to say it, but the problem was ' the drop wasnt close to where it should be, Lyle said. And of course on TV it doesnt lie.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The 138th Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

    After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

    With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    “Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

    “I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

    Getty Images

    Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    “I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

    “I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

    Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

    Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

    “We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

    Getty Images

    Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

    The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

    Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

    Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

    • Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

    • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

    • Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

    Getty Images

    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”