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Crenshaw's book reignites Ryder Cup row

Ben Crenshaw, the winning Ryder Cup captain two years ago, has followed his opposite number at Brookline, Mark James, into print to refute allegations in James's own controversial account of the match, Into the Bear Pit. The publication of Crenshaw's autobiography, A Feel for the Game, will no doubt further spice up matters for this September's match at The Belfry.

More than anything, the two books serve to emphasise how differently proceedings at Brookline – including the invasion of the green when Justin Leonard holed his putt against Jose Maria Olazabal and harsh words for Tom Lehman – were seen on either side of the Atlantic.

"Tom is one of the most solid people we have in this game and clearly doesn't deserve being dragged through the mud," writes Crenshaw. "Personal attacks have no place in golf.

Ben Crenshaw holds the Ryder Cup after the 1999 win. Allsport.

"To say that the Americans have tarnished the game and endangered the future of golf is a bitter statement. We need to rise above this whole thing. Mark had his observations; we saw things much differently. Let's leave it at that."

Crenshaw denies three allegations from James – that the late Payne Stewart passed on information to another player; that Andrew Coltart was misdirected by marshals to look for a lost ball in his singles match; and that the American players incited the crowd on the final day.

"His assertions were...well, not true," says Crenshaw. "The golf we played energised the crowd, not the other way around.

"You're going to accuse Payne Stewart of passing information to a player? That galls me. I found Payne and asked him. He said it was preposterous; he wouldn't do that."

Stewart, of course, died a month later in a plane accident.

"The charge against the marshals seemed outrageous too. I called the official who worked Coltart's match and he said the Europeans fans actually sent the search party in the wrong direction.

"Plus, there was an official from the Spanish Golf Federation working that match too and she didn't raise an objection."

Crenshaw also accuses the Europeans of using the "tactic of slow play to the fullest extent. I have a feeling it was designed to throw us off our pace. It is safe to say there was a concerted effort to slow things down."


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