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Tour News (posted 8th October 1998)

Pressure is spoiling the Ryder Cup says Woods, O'Meara

St Andrews, Scotland - The pressure cooker atmosphere of the Ryder Cup is spoiling the biennial showpiece, Americans Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara said on Thursday.

Woods said the media had made the Ryder Cup "a life or death" event.

"It started out as a friendly match between Britain and Ireland and us. Now it's not that way any more.

"Here (at the Dunhill Cup) the fans appreciate the good shots but if you hit a bad shot you're not going to hear the boos, the hissing or the moaning that you do at the Ryder Cup. It's a completely different environment here."

O'Meara, who captained the United States to a 3-0 win over England on the opening day of the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews, said the Ryder Cup had become far too competitive.

"It's become a spectacular event, I'm not denying that," said O'Meara. "It's a special event ... but whether you win or lose shouldn't depict what kind of human being you are.

"Unfortunately, there have been things written in the press (about players) that have hurt."

O'Meara said the atmosphere at the Dunhill Cup was "competitive, serious but still very gentlemanly."

"That does happen a little in the Ryder Cup but I would like to see more of it. I'd like to see both teams come together instead of being separated.

"It needs to be more of an enjoyable experience for both sides -- win, lose or draw."

Both O'Meara and Woods said the Ryder Cup involved too many social functions and hoped there would be fewer at next year's event in Boston.

"We went to a social function every night in Valderrama last year," Woods said. "We had no time to ourselves.

"People said Marbella, the town nearby, was a great place but we really wouldn't know and that's sad to say."

Said O'Meara: "There should be one opening, one reception and one dinner. Last year at a Ryder Cup gala dinner there were 600 people being served...We finally got served at 9:30pm.

"The food was cold, it wasn't cooked and if you had eaten it you probably would have got sick."