Emotions take over as 1988 Masters champ Sandy Lyle walks off No. 18 at Augusta National

AUGUSTA, Ga. — It was an interesting finish to an outstanding Masters Tournament career for Sandy Lyle.

The 1988 Masters champ was staring down his final putt of the second round as play was suspended Friday, meaning he had to come back Saturday morning to finish in a misting rain. What it gave him was time Friday evening to look back on his experiences at Augusta National Golf Club.

“I’ve had most of the night to think about it, I know that,” he said. “I’ve had a few drinks, as well, through the night so it was a little bit cloudy this morning. It’s a shame we didn’t get the chance to finish yesterday, but that’s just the way it is. The rules are the rules. I needed about another 30 seconds for a chance to hit the putt.

“The emotions are pretty high. As you look back at it, it’s gone very quick since ‘88, but it’s never let me down. You really appreciate how big the Masters is. The memories and the way you’re treated as a past champion. I look forward to coming back and playing the Par 3 Course, and playing off the members’ tees will be quite nice.”

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Lyle may have missed the cut in his final competitive Masters, but this time it was about much more than the scorecard. As he walked to the No. 18 green Friday, he took time to tip his hat to the surrounding patrons as they cheered the former champion in what would be his swan song at Augusta (even knowing he’d likely have to come back the next day).

“I knew we were probably going to come back early in the morning to finish up, so it might not be the same people there,” he said. “So I just appreciated their applause and the crowd all the way around and wanted to do the right thing.”

He also had a bit of a secret weapon in his bag – a second putter. To commemorate his final Masters, Ping created a replica of the putter Lyle used in his 1988 win. Lyle’s wife, Jolande, quietly shared that information with a few reporters Friday.

“He wanted his last shot to be memorable,” she said.

He switched to the Ping from his Evnroll putter for the final stroke of his Masters career.

A close up of Sandy Lyle’s Ping commemorative Ping putter during the second round of the 2023 Masters. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network)

Much like 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, Lyle is very much at peace with his decision that 2023 is his last competitive tournament at Augusta. He mentioned how younger players are in a different category when it comes to distance, making it tough to compete on such a long course.

“That decision was not really very hard. When you play with some of the big hitters and the younger ones, just seeing how far they hit the ball these days, then seeing Jason Kokrak hit an 8-iron into the wind at 18,” Lyle said. “I was hitting a rescue club and was almost running out of choices of clubs to hit for the second shot. I think that tells you then, and (Bernhard) Langer is the same way, that this is a very, very long golf course. A good golf course, yes, and it will test you to the limits.”

Most importantly, Lyle was able to share this week with his family.

“We’ve come a long way from Scotland. I know my youngest son and friends have all come from various places to make the trip,” he said. “It’s nice to have them around. The game of golf can be quite lonely when you’re out here away from home and on your own for weeks on end sometimes. It’s nice to have your family here.”

The Augusta Chronicle’s Doug Stutsman contributed to this report.

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