Golf Today Home Page All the latest golf news Coverage of all the worlds major tours For all your golfing needs Golf Course Directory Out on the course Golf related travel Whats going on
Worldwide Feature Articles

Jacklin slates Mark James captaincy

Tony Jacklin thinks Ryder Cup captain Mark James is not up to scratch.

Just over a week before James leads the defence of golf's most prestigious team trophy at the Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts, Jacklin criticised the decision to leave Cup veteran Bernhard Langer out of a European side that will field seven rookies against one for the United States.

Reopening a wound that has festered since James was chosen to succeed Seve Ballesteros as European captain, Jacklin warned that pitching Cup debutantes against a star-studded American line-up could be sending "lambs to the slaughter".

Jacklin, who masterminded Europe's emotional win at The Belfry in 1985 and the side's first victory on American soil at Muirfield Village two years later, said: "As captain, I wanted the strongest possible team.

"I would have put Langer in. He had a wonderful mind and mentality for match play. Apart from his vast experience as a player in the Ryder Cup, he was always wonderful in that he could play with anybody."

Langer, a veteran of nine Cup campaigns, retains the distinction of partnering the most players - 12 - in Ryder Cup history.

The 42-year-old German was desperate to win a 10th cap at Brookline, but finishing four places outside the top 10 in the Ryder Cup points list and missing out on automatic selection was a personal disaster. Langer still clung to the belief that his form and experience were good enough to secure the second of the captain's two wild-card picks - the first was always going to go to Sweden's Jesper Parnevik, who won on the American Tour earlier this season.

But that hope was dashed four weeks ago when James named Andrew Coltart as his second pick. The 29-year-old Scot joins Open champion Paul Lawrie, Jean Van de Velde, Sergio Garcia,Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jarmo Sandelin in Europe's rookie squad.

The only player making his debut with the American side is David Duval, and he just happens to be second to team-mate Tiger Woods in the world rankings.

Jacklin, winner of the British and US Opens, surveyed the opposing teams and said: "If you are planning to put two rookies out together (in the foursomes or fourballs) against, for example, Woods and Mark O'Meara, it could be lambs to the slaughter.

"I must say I would have preferred to see a little more experience in there."

Speaking on BBC Radio, 55-year-old Jacklin insisted that James was "always a fine player and certainly one I enjoyed having in my team".

But he went on: "Being a captain and being a player is a completely different thing altogether. It will be very interesting to see how he handles it."

Of the decision to appoint James as captain of the European side, he added: "It has to be said, in my view, that he is very fortunate indeed to have this opportunity."