Golf: Baker makes his bid to be among Europe's chosen ones: German Open represents a last chance for players on the Ryder Cup borderline as Americans are incensed by Clinton's taxing times

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A NUMBER of people in the Ryder Cup, the haves as well as the have- nots, are revolting. The American players are reported to be so incensed at new tax laws they are considering a boycott of the customary presidential White House ceremony. Europe's caddies, meanwhile, are incensed at their accommodation, or lack of it.

For the match at The Belfry in a month's time the humble bag carriers are being put up miles from the golf course but what they really object to is having to share rooms. 'I couldn't care less about the Ryder Cup,' Peter Coleman, Bernhard Langer's caddie said. 'Everybody stays at The Belfry except us. We actually have a part to play and yet we are treated like dirt.'

There is one exception to the two to a room rule being imposed on the caddies. Fanny Sunesson, who carries Nick Faldo's bag and the only female caddie in the match, will not have to share. In previous years the United States teams have been invited to the White House for a bit of pre-match flag waving. It worked well under President Bush but some of the players, all of whom receive more than a dollars 1m ( pounds 600,000) a year, are said to be upset at President Clinton's new tax laws which penalise high earners. At least they do not have to pay for their flight on Concorde nor for their suites at The Belfry.

Coleman could receive a compensatory bonus here from his employer. In the first round of the Volvo German Open, Langer mastered the Hubbelrath course with a 65, seven under par. There are a number of players here who would give their eye teeth for such a score. The qualifying process for the European team started last September, 39 tournaments ago and reaches its conclusion on Sunday.

Langer's place is secure, Peter Baker's is not. Baker, 25 from Wolverhampton, is ninth in the Cup table, occupying the last automatic place and yesterday he did not shrink from the challenge, making an encouraging start with a 68. Before his round he had a 40-minute session with John Allsop, a diminutive sports psychologist who is affectionately known on the Tour as the shrunken shrink.

'He told me to try and relax and enjoy it,' Baker said, 'let the others worry about me and make it as difficult for them as possible.' Should Baker get into the team he will be the last to be measured for the Ryder Cup wardrobe. When approached by the tailor at the English Open last week Baker refused because it was too close to his tee time.

Ronan Rafferty is 11th and he could have joined Langer and Johan Rystrom at the top of the leaderboard but for a double-bogey seven at the 17th where he drove into the trees on the right and had to take a penalty drop. Otherwise he had seven birdies, a statistic that will not have escaped the attention of Europe's captain, Bernard Gallacher, who announces his three selections on Monday.

Rafferty played in the Cup at The Belfry in 1989 but failed to gain selection for the team at Kiawah Island. When he finished fifth here two years ago he said it would be a disgrace if Gallacher picked either him or Sandy Lyle on the basis of one event. Gallacher picked neither. Rafferty's approach this year is softly, softly. 'People are very bored with the Ryder Cup and so am I,' he said yesterday, employing a degree of psychology.

Another Northern Irishman, David Feherty, played in the 1991 Cup and although he is 24th on the list, he has not given up hope of being one of the chosen few. 'If I play well I might just rescue it,' Feherty, who shot 67, said. 'If I'm on the periphery I have as good a chance as anybody.' Perhaps he has received word from the horse's mouth. Feherty spoke to Gallacher at Sam Torrance's 40th birthday party at Wentworth on Tuesday. 'At least, I think it was him,' Feherty added.

VOLVO GERMAN OPEN (Hubbelrath) Leading first- round scores (GB and Ire unless stated): 65 B Langer (Ger), J Rystrom (Swe). 66 I Palmer (SA), H P Thuel (Ger), A Bossert (Swit), R Goosen (SA). 67 D Feherty, E Romero (Arg), J-M Canizares (Sp), G Orr, S Ames (Tri), R Rafferty. 68 P Baker, C Rocca (It), P O'Malley (Aus), R Chapman, J Quiros (Sp), D Hospital (Sp), C Montgomerie, P Lawrie, P Mayo. 69 A Cejka (Ger), F Nobilo (NZ), D Gilford, P Broadhurst, M James, S Tinning (Den), M Sunesson (Swe), M Gates, G Levenson (SA), G Hjerstedt (Swe), S Field, T Giedeon (Ger), A Sorensen (Den), J Haeggman (Swe), G Day (US), J Coceres (Arg), S Lyle, S Struver (Ger), T Johnstone (Zim), D Clarke, O Sellberg (Swe), T Levet (Fr), P Curry. 70 S Luna (Sp), G Turner (NZ), G Cali (It), K Eriksson (Swe), J Carriles (Sp), R Drummond, D Curry, M Lanner (Swe), M Krantz (Swe), J Rivero (Sp), M Davis, W Grady (Aus), C Moody, P Eales, D Smyth, P Affleck, P Fulke (Swe). 71 P Walton, D Ray, B Lane, P Mitchell, M McLean, P Way, M Harwood (Aus), R Allenby (Aus), U Zilg (Ger), H Clark, P Fowler (Aus), M Mackenzie, R Hartmann (US), P Price, O Karlsson (Swe), J Robson, M Clayton (Aus). 72 J McHenry, C Williams, R Davis (Aus), P-U Johansson (Swe), R Claydon, K Waters, E O'Connell, M McNulty (Zim), S Richardson, M Pinero (Sp), S Ballesteros (Sp), A Forsbrand (Swe), D Cooper, M Besanceney (Fr), R Alvarez (Arg), S Grappasonni (It).

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