Golf: Jacklin opposes James captaincy

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The Independent Online
TONY JACKLIN has spoken out against the appointment of Mark James as Europe's Ryder Cup captain, saying that in his opinion his behaviour in the 1979 match should have barred him from the job.

In an interview in Golf International magazine, Jacklin, who captained Europe from 1983 to 1989, states that he has a long memory. "I'm a member at The Greenbrier, where the match was played in 1979, and there isn't a picture hanging in that clubhouse where he [James] looked into a camera lens," says the former Open and US Open champion. "He and Ken [Brown], for whatever reason, made it their business to sabotage any chances the team had." America won 17-11.

"They were levied the biggest fine there has ever been when they returned. And Ken Schofield's answer was to appoint Mark James to the PGA European Tour committee, where he's been ever since, now chairman. And that's fine. He's grown up. But he showed a lot of disrespect for his country and for everybody involved with the team that week. To reward that 20 years on, I can't see it. I'm not a prude but I can't see that would be right. But if the players and the establishment think it's right, so be it."

James was fined a record pounds 1,500 for unprofessional conduct and Brown was given a pounds 1,000 fine and banned from international duty for 12 months. Among their "offences" were not wearing team uniform at times and showing disrespect for the flag-raising ceremonies.

On his appointment two weeks ago James named Brown as one of his assistants for next September's defence of the trophy in Boston.

When James was appointed, Schofield, the executive director of the European Tour, said: "Mark has made a very important contribution outside the ropes as well as continuing a really outstanding career. I think that in his time his game has always been respected and admired by his colleagues."

James has said that he considers the 1979 match to be all in the past. Jacklin was criticised by James in 1995 for questioning aspects of Bernard Gallacher's captaincy on the eve of the match at Oak Hill.

Jacklin says in the interview that he wished Sam Torrance had made himself available for the job. "He's passionate about the Ryder Cup and that's what gets a job done properly," says Jacklin. Torrance is favourite to be captain at The Belfry in 2001, James having said he sees his appointment for one match only.