Golf: O'Meara's Cup attack

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The Independent Online
THE FOOD is undercooked and the competition is over-egged. That is the verdict on the Ryder Cup of two of America's leading players, Mark O'Meara and Tiger Woods. "Everybody needs to lighten up a little bit," said O'Meara. "It's not a life or death situation."

Woods made his debut in the biennial clash - which in the last decade has become one of the premier events on the sporting calendar - last year at Valderrama when Europe retained the Cup. But the world No 1 is enjoying the low-key nature of the Alfred Dunhill Cup far more.

"The thing that I like about this tournament is that you go out and play head-to-head and it's fun," Woods said. "If you hit a bad shot, you're not going to hear the boos, or the hissing and the moaning that you do at the Ryder Cup.

"It's not life or death. I didn't like the way the press and the fans made it out to be that way at the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup started out as a friendly match but it is not that way any more."

O'Meara added: "Whether you win or lose shouldn't depict what sort of person who are. Unfortunately there have been times when our team has lost or the Europeans have lost and there have been things written in the press. If I go out and give my heart and soul and I don't win, I don't think I'm a failure."

In the past, O'Meara has made calls for the huge profits which are raked in by the PGA of America, the PGA at The Belfry and the European Tour to be shared in part with the players, or the charities of their choice.

"It is not enjoyable when you have functions every night and you are on a schedule from six in the morning until 10 at night," O'Meara continued.

"I cannot honestly say I had a great time at Valderrama. On the course, the competition is fine, it's exciting and fun. But off the course, let the players get together.

"At the gala dinner, where there are 600 people being served, there is no guarantee that you will receive food that is actually warm. We finally got served about 9.30pm, and it was cold and it was not cooked.

"If you had eaten it, you would probably have got sick. We said to the captain we need 20 pizzas sent up to the team room for when we get back there. We've got 36 holes to play tomorrow and need some real food."

John Daly, the third member of the American team in St Andrews, who has yet to play in a Ryder Cup, added: "All the 24 players should go out to dinner together and just boycott the functions. If the PGAs are the ones making the money, they should go to the dinners."