sport

Lawrie: Lyle's chance may be gone

Sandy Lyle appears destined to go down as the greatest player never to captain Europe in the Ryder Cup.

That was the view expressed in Abu Dhabi by Paul Lawrie, who like Lyle lost out to Paul McGinley for next year's match, but unlike 54-year-old Lyle could well be in the running again in future.

"Maybe it's his last chance - seems like he is going to be the best player not to have it," said 44-year-old Lawrie, who let it be known only last week that he was interested in the job for Gleneagles.

When first approached officially in November to see whether he wanted to be considered the 1999 Open champion's response was: "No, I was going to concentrate on being a player.

"Then last week in Durban I was on the putting green and Thomas (Bjorn, tournament committee chairman) asked me 'are you sure you don't want to be considered?' and I said I would.

"To be honest, there's no harm. I'd been thinking about it and who would say no to that - I don't think anyone would.

"I think it might have been against me that I am still a current player, 29th in the world, and had I been on the committee I would have been thinking 'oh, well, I'm not sure he is a captain yet'.

"Absolutely I would want to be captain in future years. Who wouldn't want to be captain?

"I wasn't expecting it (this time), but if they felt I was the guy to do it I would have done it.

"I'd love to be in the team, but the captain's the big job, especially at Gleneagles.

"I think they've gone with the right guy. McGinley has served his time - he's been Seve Trophy captain and vice-captain quite a few times.

"It's fantastic what it means to him. He has set his stall out, he wants to be the captain and he has learned his trade.

"I think he will be fantastic. I know Paul has got a book that has a lot of stuff in it - he had it in Medinah.

"But at the end of the day, no matter how many notes you've got, it's the players that can win it or lose it.

"The captain's got an important role in being prepared. Good luck to him - I hope he does really well.

"He'll bring a lot of enthusiasm and hard work to the role, so I hope I'm in his team."

If not, it would be no surprise to see Lawrie as a vice-captain.

"It's in Scotland and it would make sense to have a couple of guys beside him that are Scottish."

Perhaps there is a role there for Lyle too. Winner of the 1985 Open and 1988 US Masters, he has been mentioned as a possible captain for well over a decade, but never chosen.