Lyle eyes Ryder Cup captaincy
Sandy Lyle set to bid for the European captaincy as Ian Woosnam declares interest.
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2008 20:27 GMT

Sandy Lyle fancies the Europe job [GALLO/GETTY]
Double major winner Sandy Lyle said he would make a bid for Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy after winning the backing of eight-times European number one Colin Montgomerie.

But he could face competition from a tried-and-trusted source, with winning 2006 captain Ian Woosnam also appearing to throw his hat in the ring.

Kind words

Lyle, who is on the US Champions Tour for seniors, said in a statement: "I really appreciate Colin's kind words.

"It means a great deal to me that a man who has been so successful in Ryder Cup competitions should endorse my candidacy as Ryder Cup captain.

"I would be delighted and honoured to take on the challenge of captaining the European team at Celtic Manor in 2010."

The 1985 British Open and 1988 US Masters champion was responding to Montgomerie's comments on Wednesday at The Belfry - where the British Masters are taking place - in which he said that his 50-year-old fellow Scotsman should follow peers Woosnam and Nick Faldo as a Ryder Cup skipper.

Past master

Woosnam, who led Europe to victory in Ireland two years ago, also hinted he would be keen to resume the role.

"If the players and committee wanted me to come back it would be nice to do it in Wales," the Welshman told the BBC.

"It might be the right time to do it and it would be nice to fetch the Cup back."

Montgomerie has said he does not intend to apply for the 2010 captaincy because he wants to play his way into the team for Celtic Manor.

The other strong candidate, Jose Maria Olazabal, has similar intentions and has also ruled himself out for the captaincy in two years' time.

Bjorn not to run

Twice Ryder Cup winner and European Tour tournament committee chairman Thomas Bjorn of Denmark has similarly decided against running.

Lee Westwood has a smile back on his face [GALLO/GETTY]
"I'm 37, so I've got to focus on my playing career," Bjorn said on Thursday after an opening round of 69 in the British Masters at The Belfry.

"At 37 you have a limited number of years left in your playing career.

"Ruling myself out? I don't think I was ever in the equation. It came through the media that a lot of players said I would be a good captain and I'm grateful for those comments but I'm just going to focus on my golf."

US feast at Valhalla

The United States hold the trophy for the first time since their 1999 victory after winning 16 1/2-11 1/2 at Valhalla last weekend.

Britain's Lee Westwood, who picked up just a point for Europe in the Ryder Cup, moved to within a shot of the lead with a four-under 68 in the first round at The Belfry on Thursday.

Despite suffering fatigue at the end of his round, Westwood claimed a share of third place behind joint leaders Marcus Fraser of Australia and Swede Mikael Lundberg.

"Both weeks are completely different and this week is getting back to the day job," the Englishman said after carding six birdies and two bogeys.
"I put last week in a box and filed it away, you can't carry mental scars or baggage from last week with you."

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