Golf: Ryder Cup - Dejected Martin opts to go home

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The Independent Online
With one final poignant twist, the Miguel Angel Martin affair was laid to rest at Valderrama yesterday. A sad and dejected Martin decided to return home to Madrid, having come to the conclusion that being a non- playing 13th player on a team of 12 was not on.

After reading a statement in which he thanked the players and Tournament Committee of the European Tour, the Spanish PGA, and the media for their support, and wished Seve Ballesteros "all the success he deserves as captain of the European team", Martin suddenly said he had something to add.

He said: "I've come to Valderrama because I was invited to come by the Committee. But I'm leaving today because I don't feel like staying here for the Ryder Cup. I just don't feel the way I would in other circumstances. I'm sorry for everything that's happened and I'm going to go home."

A look of shock came over Ken Schofield, the executive director of the European Tour, who had just read a statement saying: "Miguel Angel has been invited to attend the matches and related events in the capacity of non-playing member, and he has welcomed the chance to play this role."

Martin stayed at the team hotel on Tuesday night, but did not go to the official welcome dinner. At a photocall yesterday morning, two photos of the European team were taken, one with and one without the Spaniard.

Schofield said no extra compensation was being given to Martin, who qualified for the team but was dropped because of an injured wrist. But he would receive his ranking as a Ryder Cup player - which should gain him an exemption for the Open - and the pounds 3,500 expenses.

The two captains, Seve Ballesteros and Tom Kite, instructed their players not to sign autographs at the gala dinner last night.