ryder cup
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British Press View

The day after - Europeans concentrate on behaviour

Europeans faced up to losing the Ryder Cup on Monday by decrying the behaviour of their American hosts and promising to provide a lesson in good manners and dignity next time round.

British newspapers were divided as to whether the 14-1/2 to 13-1/2 result in Brookline on Sunday constituted the biggest comeback in the 72 year history of the cup or one of the greatest collapses in sporting history.

However they generally agreed that, while the U.S. had played some tremendous golf and proved just too powerful, their premature celebrations after Justin Leonard birdied the 17th hole had been out of order.

"How to win a cup but lose all dignity," declared a headline in the London Evening Standard on Monday over a photograph of U.S. players leaping and running on to the green.

The Ryder Cup has often been marked by unseemly squabbles between the two continents and this was no exception.

"It was not the most dignified Ryder Cup in history," commented Spain's El Mundo diplomatically, while most Spanish newspapers concentrated instead on the impressive form of local teenager "El Nino" Sergio Garcia.

But Europe vice-captain Sam Torrance said he had been "disgusted" by the display, with the Americans mobbing Leonard before Jose Maria Olazabal had taken a putt that could have saved Europe at least temporarily.

The Spaniard, who missed the putt, said afterwards that it was "an ugly picture to see" and did not want to see similar reactions repeated in Europe or elsewhere.

The home captain Ben Crenshaw later apologised on behalf of the team, but not before outrage had been voiced.

"The United States should be ashamed," Torrance was quoted as saying in most British newspapers.

"It's about the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in my life -- and it's not sour grapes."

The Times newspaper also suggested in a headline that the victory in Brookline had been marred by the antics on the green: "Americans grab tainted triumph," it declared.

Torrance promised that the crowds at Britain's Belfry in 2001 would be far friendlier to the visitors than the American crowd had been to the Europeans.

"The crowds at the Belfry have always been fantastic. I have been at all the Ryder Cups at The Belfry and they have always been a fabulous crowd," said Torrance.

Colin Montgomerie repeatedly suffered abuse directed at him while other players were heckled by the crowd, behaviour that his opponent Payne Stewart denounced on Monday.

Some newspapers also recalled the 1991 "War on the Shore" at Kiawah island, when the contest coincided with the Gulf War, and highlighted the home side's aggressive "gung-ho" approach this year to the "Battle of Brookline".

"Perhaps the Europeans' real victory here, unlike their hosts, was to treat this as a golf tournament and not like a substitute for war," wrote a Standard commentator.