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Born Shrewsbury, England
Home Balquhidder, Scotland
Family Wife, Jolande; sons Stuart, James and Quintin; daughter, Alexandra
Mentor Father, Alex, longtime teaching pro at Hawkstone Park in Shrewsbury
Turned pro 1977
Victories 29, including 1985 British Open and '88 Masters
Other accomplishments Played on five Ryder Cup teams; was first international winner of Players Championship (1987); three-time leader of European tour Order of Merit; played on two Walker Cup teams and two-time winner of English amateur stroke-play championship
Alexander Walter Barr Lyle, known to the golfing world as Sandy, played with me on the Safari, European and PGA tours and in the Ryder Cup and the World Cup, but we met long before that—when he captained the England boys' team in 1974 at Hoylake. It was clear even then that Sandy's simple yet powerful technique and easygoing attitude would take him far. Never was this more apparent than when he led going into the final round of the 1985 Benson & Hedges. Having taken an unfavorable look at the range earlier in the week, Sandy decided not to hit any practice balls. I played with him in the final group on Sunday, and without warming up, Sandy chose a one-iron to start his round. He struck the ground an inch behind the ball, but rather than get upset or angry, he said, "It will take me a few holes to warm up." Sandy won by five.
Despite Sandy's success in golf, his generosity has stuck with me as much as his talent. After his victory at the 1988 Masters, we traveled together to Hilton Head for the next PGA Tour event. On Monday afternoon we went to the range, and after his brief practice session he stayed around for two hours to help me with my game, and then we went fishing. Sandy was the most unassuming of champions.