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Mark James to escape censure over Faldo criticism

Mark James at last weeks Benson & Hedges International Open. Allsport

Mark James will not face disciplinary action from the European Tour tournament committee he himself chairs, following his criticism of Nick Faldo in his autobiography.

Last year’s Ryder Cup captain accuses Faldo of trying to undermine Europe’s chances of retaining the trophy in Boston and comments that Faldo might never become captain himself because of his poor relationship with other players.

James’ book, Into the Bear Pit, also reveals that a "good luck" letter from Faldo to the team on the eve of the match was put in a bin rather than pinned on a noticeboard with other messages.

Included in the European Tour members’ general regulations handbook is a section on media and public relations.

It states that "it is an obligation of membership to refrain from comments to media that attack, disparage or criticise tournament sponsors or promoters, fellow competitors,the PGA European Tour or its officials".

Anyone found to be in breach of the code of behaviour would face a fine or even suspension, but yesterday European Tour spokesman Mitchell Platts said: "The handbook deals specifically with competitions and therefore, in this context, we would not regard it to be a breach of tour regulations."

As well as being chairman of the tournament committee, James is also a member of the tour’s board of directors and recently accepted an invitation from Sam Torrance to be one of his vice-captains at The Belfry next year – where Faldo could be a member of the team.

Yesterday, James said: "I am just laying out the facts and I think they speak for themselves. Nick probably does not like them, but I stand by what is in the book. I think it’s balanced."

Asked if he might consider resigning as a vice-captain if his involvement was deemed to have a negative effect in the event of Faldo making the side, James stated: "I would imagine the captain might speak to me if he thought that. [But] I made Sam aware of what was in the book."

Torrance said he had not seen James comments on Faldo, and added: "Until I do I can’t comment, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the Ryder Cup. It’s between Mark James and Nick Faldo and it certainly would not embarrass me if Nick makes my side."

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