The wind died down on Friday, and Lyle fired a 67 to go six-under for the tournament and led the second-place Calcavecchia by two shots. That's exactly how they stood on Saturday evening, after they both had shot even-par 72s. Now, however, the leader board was crowded with serious names. Crenshaw finished birdie-birdie to tie Calcavecchia. Zoeller, almost in spite of himself, was four off the lead, along with Langer, West Germany's answer to the department of motor vehicles. (You decide which takes longer: waiting in line to get your driver's license or waiting for Langer to attempt a four-foot putt.) Craig Stadler, champion in '82, was five back, as was Ballesteros ('80 and '83). Watson ('77 and '81) trailed by six strokes. In all, eight green jackets were slinking around within six shots of Lyle.
Was Lyle worried? Damn right. "From the pattern I've seen here, it's better to be three or four shots behind [at the start of the final round] than in the lead," he said Saturday evening.
Noticeably absent among the leaders was Norman, who had tied for second in both 1986 and '87. He was so far behind after three rounds that even an amazing 64 on Sunday (30 on the front nine) got him only a tie for fifth. Norman has gone almost two years without a win in the U.S., his last victory having been at the Kemper Open in June 1986.
Lyle is nearly as enigmatic. "He can be very good one day and very bad another," said Ballesteros. Added Norman, "Sometimes he plays well, and sometimes he goes to sleep."
Lyle was born in 1958 to Scottish parents in England. His father, Alex, was the pro at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire. In '85, Lyle became the first Scot to win the British Open since Tommy Armour in '31. And his game got even better after the worst turmoil of his life. A year ago, his wife, Christine, left him and took their two children, Stuart, now four, and James, now two. Since mid-September of '87 he has won more than $1 million. Recently Lyle has been traveling with Jolande Huurman, a sports masseuse/footologist, even though he hated massages before meeting her. "They were quite painful," Lyle said. Now he craves them.
He fought a cold all of last week but found relief at night thanks to Huurman's foot massages to clear his nose. Indeed, the night before his victory, Lyle said, he woke up at two in dire need of the treatment, and got it. By the end of the day, Lyle was the toes of the town.
He may have the perfect disposition for golf. "My 15th club in the bag is patience," he says. Calcavecchia noticed that. "He's got a great attitude," he said. "Just plug it around, 'Cheerio, tallyho and all that rot.' He's 99 percent unflappable. I'm glad he's going home. I can't wait to get rid of him. No telling how many tournaments he'd win if he was here all the time."
What have made Lyle rich—with $591,821 he's leading the 1988 PGA Tour by $213,783—are three thin blades: his one-iron, seven-iron and putter. He can hit a one-iron 265 yards, straight as a Kansas highway. He wields his putter like an etching tool. For four rounds Lyle had only 107 putts, 12 fewer than Calcavecchia. And he's a rare model—seemingly without a choke. His playoff wins include the TPC in '87 and Phoenix and Greensboro this year.
Still, Lyle looked as if he were about to stall as he sputtered through Amen Corner on Sunday. After a bogey on 11, he led Calcavecchia by two shots and Stadler by three. But then, according to his caddie, Dave Musgrove, Lyle "tried to get fancy with an eight-iron" on the 12th tee, and he watched as his ball hit just short of the green and rolled back into the water. Hello, double bogey. Hello, tie. Hello, meanest hole in golf.
Stadler took advantage of Lyle's mistake by birdieing 14 to create a three-way tie for first. But Calcavecchia, playing behind Stadler, snatched the lead by birdieing 13 with a stupendous three-iron over Rae's Creek. Stadler responded by birdieing 15 with a sumptuous chip to within six inches of the hole. Face. Double face. It's weird, but wasn't Stadler Calcavecchia 10 years ago? Brash, temperamental, good, dressed like a laundry bag?