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Europeans might skip future US Ryder Cups

European golfers might refuse to play another Ryder Cup in the United States because of the abuse they were subjected to from fans, outgoing European captain Mark James says.

James, whose wife was spit on by a spectator, said he feared fights will break out unless action is taken to curb the behavior by players and fans that tainted the Americans' comeback victory in Brookline, Mass., on Sunday.

"A lot of players will not be bothered competing in America again," James said in British newspapers Tuesday. "Certainly that is the case with me. It's not something I would look forward to. We don't need to be treated like this."

James' wife, Jane, said a young fan spit at her on the final day of the three-day competition at The Country Club. Colin Montgomerie said his 70-year-old father left the course Sunday because of the merciless heckling of his son.

"It was just awful," Jane James said. "There were lots of incidents of people telling us to go home."

The next Ryder Cup is at the Belfry in England in 2001. The tournament returns to the United States in 2003 at Oakland Hills outside Detroit.

Mark James called for an alcohol ban at major golf events, an idea backed by Montgomerie.

The European team and British media kept up their scathing criticism of the celebrations on the 17th green Sunday by American players, wives and caddies after Justin Leonard made a 45-foot putt that eventually decided the outcome.

The wild scenes came as Europe's Jose Maria Olazabal still had a chance to keep Europe's chances alive with his own long putt. He eventually missed.

U.S. captain Ben Crenshaw later apologized, but Montgomerie said it was too late.

"No amount of apology can make amends for what they did," he said.

James said the conduct at the 17th green "pales in comparison" to the behavior of fans toward the European players.

"If I had been playing myself, I might have lost my temper completely," he said. "Cheering when you miss putts or hit into bunkers is one thing. But personal abuse is something different. We are going to get into a situation where fights will break out if we don't stop this thing now."

 


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