James quits Ryder job

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The Independent Online

The European Ryder Cup committee got vice captain Mark James to resign on Tuesday, hoping to end the nasty fallout from a book James wrote about the 1999 competition.

The European Ryder Cup committee got vice captain Mark James to resign on Tuesday, hoping to end the nasty fallout from a book James wrote about the 1999 competition.

In the book "Into the Bear Pit," James harshly criticized Nick Faldo, former European Ryder captain Tony Jacklin and the behavior of the Americans after their comeback victory a year ago.

The decision came Tuesday after the Ryder committee met with Sam Torrance, who will captain the 2001 Ryder team and appointed James - the '99 captain - and Ian Woosnam as his assistants.

Torrance will remain as captain for the biennial match next year at the Belfry, England. He repeatedly sided with James until he was told Tuesday by the six-man Ryder Cup committee that he should resign, a message he relayed to James while he was vacationing in Spain.

"I have been advised by the committee that, in the best interests of the Ryder Cup, the only way to end this controversy if for Mark to step down from his position as assistant," Torrance said in a statement.

"I have discussed the situation with Mark today and he is in agreement that the harmony and spirit of the European Ryder Cup team is of paramount importance.

"Neither of us wishes to lose sight of the fact that the Ryder Cup match should be played in the best possible spirit of sportsmanship and without rancor. That is the last thing we need is for added controversy which might adversely affect our buildup to the Ryder Cup.

"Mark and I agree that there seems to be no end in sight to the controversy. Therefore, the most sensible course of action for all concerned is for Mark to stand down, which he agreed to do."

Colin Montgomerie, Europe's top player the last seven years, said he regretted James' resignation but urged unity.

"I am very saddened that it has come to this, as Mark was a great Ryder Cup captain," Montgomerie said. "However, now our attention must be focused on looking forward to The Belfry in 2001, and to qualification for and winning the 2001 Ryder Cup.

"Sam Torrance as captain always has, and always will have, my complete support and let us all hope that we can now focus with Sam on regaining the Ryder Cup for Europe."

Torrance said he would not name an "official replacement" for James, though there is speculation he will name an unofficial adviser.

In his book, James described how he trashed a good-luck note sent by Faldo, who was left off the Ryder Cup team for the first time since 1975.

Faldo said James breached the European tour's code of conduct by making disparaging comments about other players. The tournament committee met three weeks ago and voted 10-0 in support of James as a vice captain. James is chairman of the committee and stayed during the vote.

Faldo is playing The International on the PGA Tour in Colorado.

James' appointment was also criticized by French Ryder player Jean Van de Velde, who was angered when James selected him to play only one of five matches a year ago. In addition, Van de Velde has said at least one of the vice captains should be from continental Europe.

Present at Tuesday's meeting were the six committee members: Neil Coles, John O'Leary, Angel Gallardo, David Huish, Phil Weaver and Jim Christine. They were joined by European tour executive director Ken Schofield, Ryder Cup director Richard Hills, Ryder Cup official Mike Gray, Sandy Jones, who is chief executive of the PGA at The Belfry, and Torrance.