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November 12, 2020

Sandy Lyle

Augusta, Georgia

SANDY LYLE: I'm shattered. It was a long day. I set the alarm about quarter to 5:00 this morning.

Q. Was that the wake‑up time?
SANDY LYLE: That was the time the alarm went off, yeah, so it's been quite a long time. The nice thing is at least it's been warm, probably too warm for me, but I've had many of those early starts for me and it's not very pleasant and the ball is going in where, but you can still get something at some of the shots around here.

Q. What was it like going off the 10th tee for the first time on a Thursday here?
SANDY LYLE: Very nerve‑racking. Actually when you think you're topped it off the first tee, I thought I'd scuffed it up the left side where Rory McIlroy went some years ago. But no, it's not too bad, it just skirted the trees and it didn't get down the hill. At least it got the fairway, but it wasn't easy. I had a rescue club from 200 plus yards to get to the green, and I just came up short, just, and didn't get up‑and‑down. That was a bogey straight away.

Q. How soft was the course compared to other days you've had here in as many years?
SANDY LYLE: I've had wetter. In some places, some years ago we've had wetter conditions where it was almost mud in certain places and people were falling up and down the fairways quite a bit, as well. I think the course has held up tremendously well. I know that the greens are not really rolling, and they can obviously keep the greens playing. It's always the case if you get any more rain like this, it could get to the stage where we're going to be rolling the ball a little bit just to keep the ball above the ground. But it's getting better by the hour out there, and I think the scores proved that. Quite a lot of under par‑‑

Q. Are you a little disappointed that maybe you didn't get a couple birdies‑‑
SANDY LYLE: Yeah, 78. The way I was playing last week in Phoenix, I was playing awful and had a little tweak with Pete Cowan just about a day and a half ago, and he gave me a few little pointers, and it made a tremendous difference. I hit some really good range shots but not quite good on the golf course. When you hit the ball so badly for two weeks and you're faced with the same shots in some cases, it's getting that right in your mind. You know what you want to work on, but can it come off. A lot of times today it didn't quite come off. But I'm very hopeful that I'll get some better driving tomorrow and get some balls on the green and get some birdies. I've had four rounds of golf now in a row and had three birdies. That's how it works. And the putter has not been exactly going in from all angles. It's just hard to make low scores at this moment. It's a big effort.

Q. You said he gave you a couple pointers‑‑
SANDY LYLE: Yeah, it was really about wrist pressure on the backswing. I'm forcing the right hand against the left and almost feel like I'm twisting both hands into each other and making the backswing to get the thing to go up, and it's really much easier to get the club set. A bit like what Henrik Stenson does very well on the takeaway. He has the same teacher. There's certainly days right now, but what I've hit on the range has been really good. It's encouraging. I think it'll help my backswing in the future, next year maybe when I get to play, just to get the backswing better because that's what I was losing in the swing was about the first three, four feet, I just couldn't get the club to set where I wanted it to. It's not even a gimmick, it's obviously something that's been tried and trusted and I trust what Pete Cowan says.
The early stages were good on the range and not quite as good on the golf course because it's all confidence in the end. A couple of good shots here and there make a huge difference. I stood up on the 11th hole and hit an absolute banger of a shot, then we got called off for the weather, then we went back an hour or two later and slaughtered a 4‑iron to the green. That was a really good confidence builder for me, had some big hopes of maybe getting through that 16th back to level par or something, but I doubled the 16th when I went in the water on the left. Well, I didn't actually go in the water, but the club was in the side of the hill, but it was so badly plugged that I couldn't get it out, so I had to go back to the tee and play from there. Just the odd tricky shots here and the double bogey, just fell apart a little bit, and it's hard to get some sort of momentum‑‑ I played steady, started out on the 1st hole, had a chance at birdie, lipped out at the 2nd, good putt on the 3rd, so there was a few little bits and pieces that could have easily turned it around and get through the day at about 1‑ or 2‑over would have been nice. If I would have got 2‑over, 1‑over at the end of the day I would have been really happy, but 6‑over now is just a little bit too far.

Q. Talk about the braces; it's a nice look.
SANDY LYLE: Well, it started off a few months ago. I had my work trousers on and I had a lot of tools in my work trousers and what happens with the weight, it almost starts to fall down and the shirt comes out, and I have a big problem when I'm out on the golf course swinging the golf club, very long torso, shirt comes out. I've got rubber things inside here to stop the shirt coming out, and when I wear braces the shirt doesn't come out, so that's it. I don't use it for a fashion parade, I do it because I am so fed up with my shirts coming out and coming down here and constantly having to tuck it in, and when it's so warm like this and you've got grubby hands, you tuck your shirt in, you pull your hand out and the shirt comes with it. It's really for the shirt more than anything.

Q. Are you going to stick with that look?
SANDY LYLE: If I start shooting some scores I definitely will.

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