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Lyle spat a distraction as Monty struggles

WITH a missed cut at the British Open looking likely, Colin Montgomerie complained yesterday that he has been distracted by the comments made by Sandy Lyle, a fellow Scot who said Montgomerie may have cheated at a tournament four years ago.

Montgomerie walked off the 18th green at Turnberry after a bogey left him with a four-over 74 in the second round -- five-over after 36 holes.

After following six birdies with six bogeys during his first two rounds, Montgomerie admitted he was hurt by the accusations from Lyle that he may have cheated at the 2005 Indonesia Open by replacing his ball after a long rain delay in a more favorable position.

"Very much so, yes," Montgomerie said. "I thought that it was rather amusing when he said he hoped it doesn't jeopardize his (Ryder Cup) vice captaincy position. I thought it was very, very funny."

Montgomerie beat Lyle to become Europe's captain for next year's event at Celtic Manor, but Lyle had still hoped he might get the vice captain's role.

Barely a minute

After declining to talk to the media after Thursday's 71, Montgomerie ended yesterday's news conference after barely a minute. But Lyle had more to say after his 73 left him eight-over for the tournament.

The 1985 Open champion attempted to call a halt to his spat with Montgomerie but then appeared to make it worse by saying his fellow Scot was "not squeaky clean."

"It's been taken probably a little out of context," Lyle said yesterday. "I have never, ever tried to sort of stir the pot. I hope he goes out and shoots about a 67 and all will be forgotten."

But Lyle said he did not regret what he said.

"I'm not fabricating anything. It's all been dealt with over the last so many months and years about what happened in Jakarta," Lyle told BBC TV.

"I'm just going about my business and sometimes I have to just protect myself as well. I was a hassled a lot from the press about the jeopardy of the captaincy of the Ryder Cup, was my walking off the golf course (after nine holes at last year's Open) putting me in trouble.

"Monty wasn't exactly squeaky clean, was he? He's had his troubles as well."


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