SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - It didn't take long for the foul weather at Royal Birkdale to claim its first victim during Thursday's first round. Former champion Sandy Lyle quit after nine horrendous holes that saw him reach the turn at 11-over par.
"It's probably my shortest Open ever," said the Scot, who won the 1985 Open at Royal St. George's. "I got off to a pretty miserable start."
The 50-year-old, playing in his 33rd Open, dropped seven shots over three holes to reach the turn in 45 strokes. "Around the third or fourth I hit a couple of shots which rattled my fingers, and they went a little numb," he said. "I just couldn't score and I couldn't swing the golf club in the end. I just thought I was doing myself more harm than good. For me, with the glasses and waterproofs, I just couldn't get any momentum going at all so I thought it was best to call it a day."
Now playing the Champions Tour, Lyle has been in a slump since the first George Bush administration. After winning the 1988 Masters his form nosedived. His last victory came in 1992 and his last top ten at the Open Championship was in 1988.