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Debate goes on about Ryder Cup payments

American captain Ben Crenshaw called a players' meeting in Chicago today as the debate continued over who should profit from the Ryder Cup millions.

With Europe's defence of the trophy in Boston only six weeks away, the issue of where the cash goes looked like being a hot topic when Crenshaw gathered his potential team members together at Medinah near Chicago, where the US PGA championship begins on Thursday.

Stars like Mark O'Meara, Tiger Woods and David Duval all believe that they should be paid to appear - Woods mentioned a figure of 200,000 US dollars (£125,000) last month - and that they themselves could then channel money into local charities.

At present, the Professional Golfers' Association of America, the British PGA and the European Tour distribute all profits - expected to be around £14million next month.

There is no threat of a player boycott at Brookline, but Crenshaw is concerned that the matter is overshadowing America's attempt to win the cup back.

"It's not doing our team any good and believe me, the Europeans are looking over some of these reports with glee," he said.

Twice US Open champion Lee Janzen commented: "The problem the players have is that it's supposed to be the greatest competition between two sides and it's not staged that way. It's staged as a money-making event.

"I'd have no corporate tents and I'd give 20,000 tickets away in a lottery. But I don't think there's a chance of that happening."

A PGA of America official was expected to be present at the players' meeting, but there has already been speculation that the tensions could be eased by the PGA of America making a donation to the US Tour's First Tee charity programme in the players' names.

Of the £14million profit the host club receives almost £4million and the rest goes into various charities and development programmes.

"We have to use the money to grow the game of golf - that's our mission," said Awtrey.

"I believe what the PGA of America does is charity."

At present each player receives around £3,000 expenses for the week, but nearly all of them have bonuses tied into their contracts and all qualify for the world championship event in Ohio in two weeks' time, where the first prize is a million dollars and even the player finishing last receives 25,000 US dollars (£15,625).