Faldo attacks Ryder Cup confusion

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The Independent Online

Nick Faldo has criticised Bernhard Langer's indecision over the Ryder Cup captaincy and ruled himself out of being a last-minute substitute.

Langer said last month that he has not given up hope of qualifying to play on the European team which will defend the cup at Oakland Hills next September, and would give up the captaincy if he looked like doing so.

The veteran German said the decision would be made early enough not to leave the European team in the lurch, but Faldo, preparing for the German Masters here, was surprised that such a possibility was not discussed before Langer was offered the job.

"When does he change his mind, after the shirts have been selected or before?" Faldo asked. "I thought we had an interviewing process. You thought that would have been one of the questions you would have asked." Faldo, who is trying to qualify for a 12th Ryder Cup appearance himself, said he would not be willing to step into the breach if Langer does wish to play.

"If you are the captain you want to put a lot of personal touches to it in everything, and then to suddenly hand it over to someone else with two months or something to fill in, it is not very nice. He needs to make a decision a lot earlier."

A top-class field is assembled here for one of the richest events in the calendar. Darren Clarke makes his first appearance since winning the NEC Invitational in America, while last week's winner of the Lancôme Trophy at St Nom-la-Bretêche, Retief Goosen, the in-form Kiwi Michael Campbell, Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington are all in Cologne. The defending champion, Stephen Leaney, withdrew after his wife went into pre-labour.

Marc Farry has been exonerated by the French Golf Federation after a failed drug test. He produced a positive result when traces of a steroid were detected after the French Open in June. Farry said the result was due to a cortisone injection for a wrist injury.