James, on a visit to the Brookline course in Boston where Europe defend the trophy, said: "I just don't think it's necessary. For the ordinary person in the street to look at how much the players have won over the past 12 months to get into the team, they're going to wonder where reality has disappeared to."
Mark O'Meara, the Open and Masters champion, is among those who believe the players deserve payment, but James said: "I think most want to play simply for the sake of tradition and pride.
"A lot of players would give their right arm to have played in a Ryder Cup, let alone want to be paid for the privilege of doing it. The money that's generated from the matches is put to very good use. It goes to certain causes, to get grass-root interests back in the game and teaching this and that, inner-city golf and all sorts. From my point of view I think it [payment] is just not on. I don't see the need. I think it's greed."
James found support from opposite number Ben Crenshaw, who said: "I feel very strongly about keeping things in place. I'm just old enough now to say that any other deviation would be an affront to the players who have come before us since 1927 (the year the competition began) and who have made it possible for Mark and I to enjoy a life that we've enjoyed in professional golf. That supersedes every viewpoint that I can possibly come up with."
James has taken over from Seve Ballesteros as captain, while Crenshaw has followed Tom Kite. Ballesteros will be remembered for his hands-on approach. "I won't be as excitable at certain times," said James.
"I'll be different. I think I'll be talking to the players probably more and jumping up and down a bit less on the fairway. It's just my way of doing the job. And I'm not saying that's a better way or a worse way - Seve did a heck of a job. To take us into the singles with a five-point lead was an incredible performance."