Sandy Makes It Day To Remember

Two-time Major winner Sandy Lyle returned to the region to give advice, instruction and encouragement to amateur golfers in the North East.

Two-time Major winner Sandy Lyle returned to the region to give advice, instruction and encouragement to amateur golfers in the North East.

He is now into the second year of his five year contract with MacDonald Hotels and thoroughly enjoying his role as the company's 'Ambassador for Golf'.

As part of this role Sandy returned to Linden Hall Hotel Golf & Country Club in Northumberland after last year's inaugural visit to host a second golf clinic, chat informally about his past, present and future plans and join golfers on the course to help them improve their scores.

He said: "I'm doing five of these a year at various locations in the UK, so I'm quite busy. It doesn't take all my time up but it's a day in my organised year of playing golf."

When asked exactly what his role with MacDonald's was, he replied: "I'm just part of the golf scene more than anything else and the designing side of things might come later on if new projects come on line.

"I enjoy these days, no two are the same and obviously today has been very good because they are all interested in golf, they all watch the PGA and the likes and with Tiger Woods winning, they all want to know the inside story.

"And as I'm now doing the commentary on it with Sky, I've got a few little answers for them, so it's nice."

Over 70 golfers attended Sandy's clinic at Linden and all listened intently as he explained how you should grip a club, the value of being custom-fitted for clubs, alignment at address, bunker and short game play and how to fade and draw a ball.

He added: "I enjoy the clinics, an hour or so goes very quickly."

Following lunch, 17 four-man teams took part in the competitive side of the day, playing a stableford format with the two best scores to count. Sandy joined various teams to launch a drive away, which they were then able to use as one of their shots.

Two teams from Linden Hall both ended up with the leading score of 87 points and on count back, team Ochaye took first place from Pro Com, by the narrowest of margins.

As for his golf this year, Sandy admitted that he hasn't had a great deal of success and added: "I suppose the highlights of this year have been making the cut in both the majors I've played in, the Masters and the Open.

"I finished OK in pretty hard conditions at Augusta but the last round at Carnoustie was a bit of a shocker. I got soaked and ended up playing with all weather gloves on both hands, which I've never had to do before. I played 14 holes pretty good and was probably one under for those but the others were a nightmare."

Sandy hasn't got long to go now before he can join the Champions Tour, a new era in his life that may yield further success.

"I'll be 50 next February and then I'll be eligible for two years on the American circuit because of my Major wins and that's what I want really," Sandy said.

"It's a totally different mind-set. I know there will be a lot of traveling involved but you are playing against guys about the same age or older and that's a different game altogether. You're not competing against the 20-year-olds that have got no fear, shooting 68s all day long. Yes, there will be some low scores according to the conditions but I should be there or thereabouts. I've stayed fairly sharp in the game, so the transformation should be reasonably smooth."

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No Cause To Worry For Ken

Ken Ferrie insists that missing four cuts in a row on the European Tour has not set the alarm bells ringing. "Obviously, it's very frustrating and no-one can be happy about also missing out on the Open and the USPGA Championship as well but I'm not about start panicking," said the Ashington lad.

"The fact is I'm hitting the ball very well and just not getting any reward for it. I feel I'm playing the best I have since I turned pro and it's just not being translated into results, it's very frustrating.

"So I am disappointed with my results this year, but not the way I'm playing. There's still time to make a real impact and anyone who plays golf knows that things can change overnight.

"One minute you're sailing along playing well and suddenly the form disappears and the opposite is also true. You can be be struggling for a result and then the switch clicks and you win."

Ferrie took three weeks off as he was moving house and also to work on details of the charity pro-am tournament he's organising on September 3 at Matfen Hall through the Ferrie Foundation.

"I do have vacancies for anyone interested. It's £500 for a team of three who will play with a professional and it's for a good cause as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care will benefit," said Ferrie.

"Anyone interested in playing in the tournament can contact me through my website ."


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