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Day Three Features
Europeans disgusted by American antics
Chaos reigns with Leonard's 45' putt
Sandelin & Mickelson make friends again
Europe leads in personalities
Last day comeback earns US narrow Ryder Cup win

US fighting back in the singles

Europeans disgusted by American antics

The European Ryder Cup team was outraged by the U.S. team's celebration of Justin Leonard's putt that all but won the tournament for the Americans.

When Leonard sank the 45-foot shot, most of the seven U.S. players, along with several caddies, officials and wives, stormed the green to embrace him as thousands of fans roared.

Jose Maria Olazabal, however, still had a 25-foot putt with a chance to equal Leonard. He watched as the group ran across his line on the 17th green, hugging and hollering.

The Americans quickly collected themselves after the celebration, slightly embarrassed. Then Olazabal missed the shot, sealing his team's defeat.

"I think it was very sad to see. It was an ugly picture to see," Olazabal said. "You can cheer your own team as much as you want but just show some respect for the opponent. As simple as that."

Colin Montgomerie, who was heckled throughout the tournament by fans, said he couldn't believe what he saw Sunday. Jesper Parnevik also said such breakdowns in decorum were unacceptable.

"It should just not ever happen," he said.

Sam Torrance of England, a former Ryder Cup player, told Sky Television in London: "It's about the most disgusting thing I've ever seen. This is not sour grapes. ... Tom Lehman calls himself a man of God. His behaviour today has been disgusting."

Lehman said the excitement overtook him and the others. Steve Pate remained off the green.

"We probably wish we all would have jumped up and down in place instead of running to the side of the green," Lehman said. "But I'm not going to apologise for being excited."

European team captain Mark James said he did not hold his American counterpart, Ben Crenshaw, responsible and expected no apology. Crenshaw offered one anyway.

"We do apologise sincerely," he said. "There wasn't any call for that. The celebration started spilling over and it really was not something that we need to be proud of, and we've apologised. ... We're truly sorry."

Leonard took some of the blame, too.

"I shouldn't have run off the green," he said. "And I do apologise for that."

Olazabal offered a conciliatory note as the post-tournament interviews were ending.

"I think we all want to congratulate the American team," the Spaniard said. "We are not trying to find any excuse on the words that we mentioned about the way they behaved on 17."

 

 


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