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Torrance confirms that James won't be replaced

Sam Torranceyesterday gave his response to the enforced resignation of Mark James as one of his vice-captains for the Ryder Cup match at The Belfry next year by announcing that he was doing absolutely nothing whatsoever. His only reaction to James's removal from office was to state once and for all that his old friend and ally would not be replaced; he could not have expressed his loyalty to James more eloquently with a million words.

James has been sitting unwillingly in the stocks having the media's equivalent of rotten fruit and veg hurled at him for more than two months since the serialisation in a national newspaper of Into The Bear Pit, his book relating his experiences as Europe Ryder Cup captain at Brookline last September.

The most controversial passage in the book, which has gone on to be a bestseller, is contained in James's revelations that when he received a good-luck message before the match from Nick Faldo, he threw it away, partly because of statements about the European Tour and, in particular, Colin Montgomerie, by the six-times major championship winner. Faldo took umbrage and did not withdraw demands that James should be disciplined for breaking the players' code of conduct until last week.

 

Torrance confirmed that just Ian Woosnam will assist him in 2001. Allsport.

Even as the furore was proceeding, Jean Van de Velde, who had long been unhappy that he, Jarmo Sandelin and Andrew Coltart did not play at Brookline until the final-day singles, added fuel to the flames by criticising Torrance for not appointing a continental European to his team of assistants.

It was suggested in some quarters that by asking James to step aside, Torrance would have the opportunity to take up Van de Velde's suggestion. The names of Costantino Rocca and Bernhard Langer were put forward as possible replacements, but in leaving the post vacant Torrance has effectively cocked a snook on the idea.

"There will be no second assistant now, end of story," Torrance said on the eve of the Victor Chandler British Masters, which starts at Woburn today. "I'm glad it's sorted. It was horrific and should never have happened. Around 15 people have come up to me here and said they were sorry about Mark. I have had nobody who said they were happy about it." Montgomerie, Europe's leading player for the past seven years, said: "I think it had to be resolved, but I feel sad for Mark. He was an excellent captain and did a superb job."

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