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Golf News: - Posted 28th September 1997

Seve steps down as Ryder Cup captain

Sotogrande, Spain 28th September - Seve Ballesteros, celebrating victory and praised for his hands-on captaincy of the winning European Ryder Cup team, won't be doing do it again. At least for a while.

Spanish King Juan Carlos II called to congratulate him for guiding Europe to victory over the United States but then Ballesteros revealed he won't be back as captain for the next Cup in 1999.

"I'm not going to be the captain in 1999 because I want to get my game back," he said. "There have been a few years now where my game hasn't gone well and I want to play in the Ryder Cup in 1999.

"In regard to being captain again, maybe I'd like to come back and do it in, say, 2005 in Ireland or later."

Fighting back problems, Ballesteros hasn't won a tournament since the 1995 Spanish Open and has made only three of 17 cuts this season. He played eight times on Ryder Cup teams.

Fiercely proud and never shy about touting his ability, Ballesteros single-handedly landed the Ryder Cup for Spain -- the first time it was played outside of Britain or the United States.

But he was sometimes controversial, at one time opposing Valderrama as the Ryder venue and accusing course officials of offering him a bribe to back the site.

Earlier this month, he was accused of blatantly trying to get an advantage when fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin was dropped from the Ryder team with an injury.

That allowed José Maria Olazábal -- the 11th ranked player -- to claim the last of the 10 automatic berths -- and then allowed Ballesteros to name Nick Faldo and Jesper Parnevik as his two wild card picks. Had Martin stayed, one of the three would have been left off.

Martin threatened to sue to get the spot back. Ballesteros shot back calling Martin "that little man."

Olazábal responded by winning 2˝ points and Parnevik and Faldo garnered two each -- a sizable chunk of Europe's 14˝ points to the Americans' 13˝.

Ballesteros was popping up everywhere during the three days of the Ryder Cup. He darted across the fairways to offer advice to his players which some said was too much meddling.

Spanish Ryder Cup rookie Ignacio Garrido bluntly criticized Ballesteros for dropping Martin, but he also gave the captain his due. "Seve wasn't just the captain, he was like a father to the players. Our hands were on the clubs, but it was like Seve was hitting the shots," said Garrido.