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James speaks out over American Ryder Cup greed

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Mark James has accused America's top golfers of "greed".

World No 2 David Duval revealed that a number of team-mates are threatening to boycott this year's event if they do not get paid.

Duval said that "up to six or eight players, including Tiger Woods,'' could pull out of the Cup in Boston this September.

Some Americans believe they should be compensated for playing in a competition which makes a profit of 12-18million.

"Without the players they are not going to have a Ryder Cup," blasted Duval.

James, who revealed he will now skipper the side after ruling out the idea of playing, was not impressed.

He said: "I am amazed. Why is it only the Americans who talk about money.

"We take a view over here that if you've made the European Ryder Cup team you have earned a minimum 350,000 to do so. That is a lot in anyone's language.

"The Americans qualify over a two-year period and those who do get into the side earn pounds 2m because of their different structure.

"Anything more than that is greed. You've got to ask also who benefits most from the Ryder Cup. In my opinion, it's golf on both sides of the Atlantic." James was backed by Colin Montgomerie, who said: "I'd rather not play than be paid.

"It's only the Americans who claim money should be involved. Not one European wants to be paid. We should be playing for flags, not money.

"The trouble is the Americans now get paid for playing in the President's Cup and expect it all the time. Duval has his views. I respect those views. But I think he is wrong.

"People say cricketers, rugby players, soccer players all get paid playing for their country. Fair enough. But they don't have a career as long as golfers.

"The Ryder Cup isn't about money. It's about tradition and bringing good things into the game. Giving money for tomorrow's stars."

Other Europeans also lined up to shoot down Duval.

Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke made their Ryder Cup debuts two years ago in Valderrama.

Westwood, his place assured for Boston, said: "I am proud to represent my country. Money does not come into it for me." Stablemate Clarke said: "I agree. The honour matters more to me."

Even American great Tom Watson, both a player and captain, said: "You should not be paid to represent your country. The competition is all about tradition."

"Players make enough money, and the amounts that are raised go towards the benefit of the USPGA and the European Tour."

Both the PGA's of America and Europe have always resisted payment demands, saying the money is ploughed back into the game through pensions and at grass-roots level.

Woods made a stance for money during The Open at Carnoustie. "Pay us 125,000 and let us keep 10,000 and give the rest to charity," he said.

Duval added: "It's an exhibition. The whole thing has become a little overcooked, but it's probably going to stay that way until the players choose not to play.

"Could it happen? I think it could. Imagine the outcry if Woods or Duval doesn't play.

"The boycott might not happen this time, although it could. More likely though, next time, in 2001. It's imminent. Some of the guys are fed up."

Nick Faldo surprisingly admitted: "I can understand their gripe. They see the USPGA make millions. I am sure it's a good threat and a powerful one.''