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Monty finds Lyle's apology 'strange'

TWICE major winner Sandy Lyle has said sorry for suggesting Colin Montgomerie had "cheated" in a tournament four years ago although Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup captain called the apology "strange".

Lyle made the claims in Tuesday's Daily Mirror newspaper, referring to an incident at the 2005 Indonesian Open when television replays indicated his fellow Scot had incorrectly replaced his ball after an overnight weather delay.

After seeing video footage of the episode, Montgomerie agreed he had made an innocent mistake and decided to give his US$40,000 prize money to the Tsunami Appeal.

"I regret bringing up the 2005 incident in Jakarta," Lyle told reporters at the British Open on Tuesday. "Colin Montgomerie and I are not at war, Colin is a great champion and a good friend.

"I think that literally the big line of calling Colin a cheat ... is totally out of context. I was obviously very upset this morning when I found out all this was brought to the forefront."

Speaking about Lyle's climb-down before practising on Tuesday, Montgomerie was quoted by British media as saying: "It's a rather strange apology to be honest. I'm just trying to compete in the Open and my preparations have been dented.

"I'm not very happy about that at all."

Lyle, the 1985 British Open and 1988 US Masters champion, said he had mentioned the Jakarta incident in frustration while being quizzed over his own withdrawal after only 10 holes of last year's rain-lashed Birkdale Open.

"I deeply regret making this comparison and apologize to Colin for involving him in my own issue," said the 51-year-old.

"I'm only trying to protect myself when I get called a quitter after walking off the golf course when I've got a legitimate hand injury."

Lyle may still be disappointed his own claims for the 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy were overlooked but said the last thing he wanted was to disrupt Montgomerie's preparations for this week's Open.

"I have got no vendetta against Colin at all," the Scot added. "The last thing he wants right now is having all this baloney going on...

"I congratulated him (recently) on his Ryder Cup selection. He took it the right way and there was no problem."

Lyle, however, said the eight-time European No. 1 Montgomerie had taken a "pretty poor drop" in Jakarta.

"It was one of his mistakes ... and it will probably live with him for the rest of his life," he added.


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