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Davis Love slates Mark James' book comments

Davis Love III slates Mark James over his book "Into the Bear Pit". Allsport

Davis Love III lashed out at Mark James on Thursday, criticizing the 1999 European Ryder Cup captain turned author for exploiting his position for financial gain.

Love, an American Ryder Cup stalwart, also said James keeps "bashing us non-stop" in order to deflect blame from his own failures during Europe's stunning singles collapse at The Country Club last September.

"I think it's sad," Love said about James' book. "He's cashing in on that moment. It's sad because it's the only way he can cash in.

"It's hard to sit over there and go, 'Well, let me explain to you what happened. The first match we got our butts kicked. The second match we got our butts kicked. The third match we got our butts kicked, and maybe our strategy wasn't that good.' You can't sit down and say that. So what do you do? You say well the fans were bad, and this and that."

James' book, excerpted sensationally in the Daily Mail last week, heavily criticized American players for their premature victory celebration after Justin Leonard holed a 45-foot putt at the 17th green, the capper to an unprecedented final-day comeback.

"Did Ben do a book?" Love said about American captain Ben Crenshaw. "I don't think it would come out like that if he did."

Love said James' diatribes against Tom Lehman and others were "sour grapes."

"Sure, we overcelebrated on 17, we made a mistake," Love said. "We apologized for it and they accepted our apology, publicly and personally. OK, we made a mistake. How bad are you going to get us for that?

"What it all boils down to, if you go back and read the transcripts of the Saturday night press conference, everything was fine," Love said. "They were the happiest campers in the world. The course was great, the fans were great, everything was going their way and they didn't have one single complaint. But as soon as they got their butts kicked everything changed. Come Sunday night and they get their butts kicked and now it's a whole different story."

Love said he's done his best to patch things up with European players since last September. When he went to Spain for a World Golf Championship event in November, he again apologized to Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal.

"To me, it's over with," Love said after shooting 66 at the Buick Classic. "The players have all been great. When I went up to Jose Maria (last fall) he said, 'Look, no problem, don't worry about it. You overcelebrated, you apologized, it's over and done with. Let's just don't let it happen again.'

"We've never gone and made them apologize for celebrating in the middle of the Muirfield green (in 1987), but whatever," Love said. "At least we did it and they accepted it and we're all friends. Jose just sent me five cases of wine. But to have James do that, it just looks bad for him. It doesn't look bad for anybody else. It's just sour grapes."

James is supposed to serve as an assistant to captain Sam Torrance in the 2001 Ryder Cup at The Belfry in England. Love said he wouldn't be upset if James is allowed to keep his position.

"That's not going to bother us," Love said. "We haven't talked to him since (Brookline). We don't really care if he's co-captain or not. I hope it's nicer (atmosphere). The players are doing their part and hopefully the captains will, too."

 

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