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Sam Torrance refuses to back down over Mark James

Sam Torrance in conversation with one of Mark James most outspoken critics, Jean van de Velde. Allsport.

Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance has refused to back down in his support for vice-captain Mark James.

He even hinted he could walk out if those wanting the head of the former captain succeed in their task.

"It would put me in a very difficult position. I don't know at this stage what I would do," he said.

Torrance's stance comes ahead of tonight's Tournament Committee meeting in Loch Lomond, where James is chairman.

"It's important we get this matter resolved as soon as possible. Therefore we must use this meeting to find solutions that can be put into effect. I am obviously still 100 per cent behind Mark," he added.

He knows Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Jean Van de Velde all want James to fall on his sword and resign his position as vice-captain.

They are joined by Nick Faldo, the man who instigated the attack after James revealed in his book that he binned Faldo's letter of good luck before the last Ryder Cup in Brookline.

Faldo was disappointed not to pick up a wild card, as was Langer.

Their case in claiming James harmed European golf is somewhat hollow when it is considered Faldo plays his golf in America, while committee members Van de Velde, another US-based player, and Langer will not be available to attend the meeting.

In James's corner he knows he has the support of Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie.

His position is not on the agenda, but Swede Anders Forsbrand is allegedly being primed to bring it up in 'Any Other Business', although under the rules that only allows for discussion and not a vote. It would then be put off for another meeting - only adding to the farce and confusion.

The Ryder Cup Committee, people with the real clout, do not meet until August 1 and have refused to comment until then.

As one Tour player said yesterday: "It's all a load of rubbish. What's Nick upset over? He wouldn't have made the Ryder Cup and neither would Langer.

"The blokes to feel sorry for are Sam and Robert Karlsson, who did everything to make the team and was left out."

Michael Smurfit warned that sponsors are also getting fed up with the in-fighting.

After putting up the money for the European Open at his K Club - which was won by Westwood on Sunday - and spending pounds 10million to ensure the 2005 Ryder Cup goes to Ireland, he said: "I don't wish to bring personalities into this, but I have spoken to responsible people on the matter.

"I've told them this thing has to stop before further damage is inflicted on the Ryder Cup.''

 

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