SUTTON COLDFIELD, England // 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 No 1 Colin Montgomerie. In a statement to Reuters via his manager Robert Duck late on Wednesday, Lyle, who is on the US Champions Tour for seniors this week, said: "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 yesterday at the Belfry in which he said that his 50-year-old fellow Scotsman should follow peers Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo as a Ryder Cup skipper. "It would be a shame if Sandy doesn't get the chance," Montgomerie said. "I think it would be only fitting if he does the job at Celtic Manor, as his four major colleagues have all done it."
The Scot was also referring to Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer, both of whom skippered victorious European teams. 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. Twice Ryder Cup winner and European Tour tournament committee chairman Thomas Bjorn of Denmark has similarly decided against running.
"I'm 37, so I've got to focus on my playing career," Bjorn said 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."
The United States hold the trophy for the first time since their 1999 victory after winning 16 1/2-11 1/2 in Valhalla last weekend. *Reuters