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James' Ryder Cup future in Sam's hands

Mark James says he is ready to stand down from his position as Ryder Cup vice-captain to Sam Torrance for next year's match at The Belfry if asked.

James said he would consider standing down if it was in the best interests of the match next year.

"I'm entirely in Sam's hands," James said. "It's a matter for Sam and whatever Sam wants and what's best for the team I'll do. What you want is to win it and what's best for the team goes."

James says no one on the Ryder Cup committee has spoken to him about his controversial book on the 1999 match at Brookline. In fact, James says he doesn't know who is on the committee. He also confirmed that Ken Schofield, executive director of the PGA European Tour, has not spoken to him about the matter.

James is highly critical of Nick Faldo in the book, saying he will never be named a Ryder Cup Captain because he is disliked by the players. However, James says he will have no problem working with Faldo should Faldo make the team next year.

"Nick and I have had a run-in before in 1994 and we were teammates in the 1995 Ryder Cup and it wasn't a problem to me,'' James said. "I'll stand up and have an argument with anyone and if we're playing in the Ryder Cup the next week it's forgotten. I hope Nick makes the next team. He's one of our best players.

"I was hoping he'd make the team I captained, because when you have a player like Faldo making the team you know you have got someone who can perform under the most severe pressure."

James's book attacks many players on the American team, particularly Tom Lehman. James blames Lehman for whipping up the crowd against the European team before the final-day singles matches. He also accuses the 1996 British Open champion of suffering from "moral downfall".

Lehman sent a letter of apology to James after the match, but in the book James says the letter was nothing more than a waste of good ink.

Lehman hit back at James: "I think it's really low class," he said following the second round of the Kemper Open Friday. "I hope he feels good about it. I guess every good story needs a villain and I'm glad he's found one in me. I hope he feels good about making money out of taking shots at other people's character and integrity.

"I think he ought to be proud that he's dragging the Ryder Cup through the muck. I'm a little angry. I think it's crazy." James said he is genuinely surprised at Lehman's response. "I'm amazed at Tom's reaction. I don't think I've been particularly harsh on Tom in the book. I don't approve of his actions but I haven't launched into an anti-Lehman chapter. There is not a chapter entitled 'I don't like Tom'."

James continues to state that his reason for writing the book is so lessons can be learned from Brookline. He says he did not write it to "stir up a hornet's nest". The Englishman is surprised by the controversy the book has created, but says people need to read it and learn from it.

"I think if people read the book they might think something should be done about the Ryder Cup," he said. "I think the 1999 Ryder Cup was devalued at Brookline. Simple as that. I don't think my book will devalue it. My book explains maybe why a lot of people thought it was devalued.

"Certain things happened there that shouldn't be forgotten about. Things happen throughout history that are not particularly nice but it's not right to say let's forget about it. Sometimes you have to remember what happened, the things that went wrong and try to move on."

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