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Player antics at Ryder Cup issue arises again

The thorny issue of excessive celebrations at the Ryder Cup has reared its head again after the head of the PGA of America called into question Sergio Garcia’s antics following Europe’s victory at the Belfry last year.

In an interview with The Scotsman, Jim Awtrey, the chief executive officer of the PGA of America, admits to "concern" at the way the young Spaniard broke off from his singles match with Davis Love to sprint down the fairway after Paul McGinley sank the winning putt.

Three years previously, at the 1999 match in Brookline, the American team members and their wives had been widely condemned for sprinting on to the 17th green on the final day to celebrate Justin Leonard’s birdie before Europe’s Jose- Maria Olazabal had had the chance to putt.

The Spaniard missed and America won the cup, but the manner in which the victors conducted themselves caused considerable resentment.

Awtrey was delighted to see a general improvement in behaviour both on and off the course at the Belfry in 2002. However, he does admit to concern at Garcia’s behaviour.

"What happened at the Belfry was good in as much as we had both excellent player and fan behaviour. Having said that, I was concerned at the 18th when Sergio was running down the fairway and jumped on a player’s back. Personally, I believe matches should get to the 18th green before they are conceded.

"We judge the players based on their performance. If you were around the 18th when Tiger Woods was playing his match and he’s one up and Sam [Torrance] is on the back [of the green] and they’re celebrating while the players are still expecting to putt out, there should have been a concession there. Then, the next day, the media is looking at why Tiger didn’t win his match and saying he’s got a poor record.

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