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Players in support of James' resignation

Members of recent Ryder Cup teams agreed with a decision to remove Mark James as assistant captain of the European team because of controversy stemming from his recent book.

James, captain of the 1999 European squad, was asked to step down as assistant captain for the 2001 squad "in the best interests of the Ryder Cup,'' captain Sam Torrance said today of the Ryder Cup Committee's action.

Several Ryder Cup players are competing in The International here this week, and most echoed the comments of America's Steve Pate in referring to the ongoing James controversy: "It seems to be all anybody can talk about. It seems to be the main topic of conversation. This decision is probably good for the Ryder Cup.''

"The only surprise is why it happened today and not before,'' Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal said.

Countryman Sergio Garcia added, "If Sam and the committee thought it was best for the team that Mark James resign, maybe it is.''

England's Nick Faldo, who has had a contentious relationship with fellow Englishman James, supported the action.

"That's what the committee felt needed to be done to keep a good, harmonious relationship going on between the two sides,'' Faldo said. "It's good that I'm not involved in this one because it's been billed as too much of a personal thing. This was a decision by the Ryder Cup Committee, and I have nothing to do with it.''

James, besides being critical of the U.S. team's behavior in last year's matches, wrote in "Into the Bear Pit'' that he showed a good-luck letter from Faldo to the 1999 European squad before trashing it.

"I've now learned that Mark tore up my good-luck letter,'' Faldo said. "In his book he stated that he showed my letter to the whole team, but, in fact, that is incorrect. In fact, I don't think any of the team saw it except for two non-playing members.

"So he has basically fabricated a story to make me look as if I'm unloved, not wanted as a future captain. That's still obviously a personal issue for me.''

Faldo, left off last year's Ryder Cup team, criticized James for using his captaincy to acquire a lucrative book deal.

Noting that James also criticized Tony Jacklin, Tom Lehman and his wife, Faldo said, "He had a go at everybody. I don't think captains, just because they have a position like that, should go running straight off to get a nice, fat book deal. I don't think that's quite the right role of a captain, especially if he wants to stay involved in the future.''

Mark James resignation has been greeted with agreement from Ryder Cup players from 1999. Allsport

Faldo made it clear he has no desire to succeed James, but said he might seek a captaincy position in future years.

"If I do get involved in the Ryder Cup, the timing is not now,'' he said. "I'd think about it maybe when I'm between 50 and 60. Unfortunately, it's not a one-week job now.''

Faldo also said the Ryder Cup competition needs to become more friendly.

"It gets too intense,'' he said. "It has become too much life and death. Let's get back to the bottom line. This is 24 guys going out and playing. Sure, you're going to play really as hard as you can on the golf course. But when you come off, the goal is you can all sit at the bar and talk about, 'Hey, the 3-wood you hit was an awesome shot.' If we get back to that level, great.''

In that light, Faldo was asked who should be Ryder Cup captains in the future.

"(Americans) should have (comedian/actor) Robin Williams,'' he said, "and we should pick a similar guy. We'd have some fun, then.''

It was suggested that the European captain could be the father of Sweden's Jesper Parnevik, who is a comedian.

"A Swedish comedian -- and no one would understand him,'' he said with a laugh. "You guys could have Robin Williams or Billy Crystal. That would be perfect.''

 

 

 

 

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