May 18 2012 By Johnathon Menzies
SANDY Lyle said he would not have achieved golfing greatness if it was not for the support of his family.
The Balquhidder resident was inducted into Florida’s World Golf Hall of Fame this month.
In his acceptance speech the two- time Major winner took time out to remember Spanish golfing legend Seve Ballesteros, who died a year earlier.
But he added: "I’d like to turn the clock back 50 years ago or more to Hawkstone Park, which was really the birth place of golf for me.
"My parents moved down from Scotland from a very cosy place with their own golf course and big family. My dad was from a family of nine. He went down for an interview and he got the job as a club professional.
"The clubhouse where I was living eventually wasn’t one of the nicest places in the world but my dad saw the future, and I was born about three years later at Hawkstone Park."
"When I told my father I wanted to play golf he told me to stay away from what he called the three Bs: the birds, the booze and the boredom.
"I managed to win the tour school at Fox Hills in London – with my father’s advice of ‘tempo before temper’ ringing in my ears – and virtually doubled my bank balance to a grand total of £300 and I was ready to fire away at the regular tour in Europe.
"My goal for the first year was to be in the top 60, which I managed to do, finishing about 49th, and then the following year things were going pretty good. I won the money list in 1979 and then not long after the Open Championship, the TPC and the Masters."
Lyle went on to thank his family – reserving special praise for wife Jolande, – caddies, coaches, tournament organisers, fellow pros and other mentors.
He concluded: "The core values we have are great skills that need to be taught to younger players: respect and honesty."
But he also owned up to a gaffe years ago at a tournament in LA when a TV crew asked what he thought of Tiger Woods.
"I famously said I didn’t think I’d ever played that golf course before," said Lyle. "He’s not done too badly since, though."