Sandy Lyle is hoping to overcome his own worst enemy as he bids to get his Senior Tour Order of Merit bid back on track at the Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open.
The only problem is that, currently, his worst enemy on the golf course is the guy that is staring at him every time he looks in the mirror – himself.
Scotland’s former Open and Masters Champion makes his first regular Senior Tour appearance in his homeland at the beautiful Fairmont St Andrews this week, and his hoping to be inspired back to winning ways in the Home of Golf.
Lyle got his Senior Tour season off to a brilliant start this year with victory in the ISPS Handa Senior World Championship presented by Mission Hills China, his first win since the 1992 Volvo Masters.
But since that flying start to the season, Lyle has been becoming increasingly frustrated by the mental side of the game.
“Frustration is my biggest enemy right now,” said Lyle. “I am not suffering from any illness or injury and I need to make sure I don’t blow myself out of the tournament in the first few hours.
“I have been working on different things but that hasn’t helped at all. In fact it’s caused more problems than it has solved.
“Then there is the mental situation when you just can’t see yourself getting round in low numbers. The mental side plays a bit part. Even if you are swinging technically sound, if you are not committed to the shot doubt creeps in and doubt on the golf course is a killer if you are not taking on shots.
“I need a period of playing reasonable golf to build confidence, but I have been playing spasmodically. But it is a crazy game and it can all turn round in a couple of hours.”
It is indeed a crazy game and Lyle has the experience and ability to seize the moment when he turns his mind around. The incentives on offer at the Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open might just be enough to spark the turnaround.
“This being the national title makes it one of the bigger tournaments for me and I would love to win a few more senior tournaments,” Lyle continued.
“I have only won one and I still hope I can get a little run going because I can still win the Order of Merit of I can get a couple of big wins.”
Lyle is among the favourites this week but he knows he will face some serious competition from a field packed with quality, from defending champion Barry Lane, to course designer Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam and, of course, the Senior Tour’s most prolific champion, Carl Mason.