Ryder Cup committee to discuss James' future

Mark James' feud with Nick Faldo and Tom Lehman could cost him his job as Ryder Cup vice captain when the team's committee meets at Wentworth on Tuesday.

Mark James' feud with Nick Faldo and Tom Lehman could cost him his job as Ryder Cup vice captain when the team's committee meets at Wentworth on Tuesday.

James sparked bad feelings after making critical comments about Faldo and Lehman in his book "Into the Bear Pit," which chronicles last year's Ryder Cup at Brookline. James was captain was of the European team, which lost the Cup to the United States, 14 1/2-13 1/2.

James, who has been appointed as Sam Torrance's assistant for next year's Ryder Cup at the Belfry in England, has been accused of bringing the game into disrepute.

Faldo, left off the 1999 team by James, accused him of breaching the players' code of conduct by publishing the book while still a team official. Lehman said James had "dragged the Ryder Cup through the muck."

James was critical of Lehman for charging across the 17th green to celebrate Justin Leonard's holed putt against Jose Maria Olazabal. The Spaniard still had his putt to make.

The feuds have simmered for almost a year and, although the PGA European Tour Tournament Committee unanimously supported James three weeks ago, the Ryder Cup committee could take a different view.

The Ryder Cup Committee is made up of three senior members of the Tour's Board of Directors and three high-ranking officials from the Professional Golfers' Association.

But there are four ex-officio members, including Ken Schofield, executive director of the European Tour, and Torrance.

James, who is vacationing in Spain, won't be at the meeting while Faldo is playing in the United States.

There has been speculation in the British press that Torrance would quit as captain if James is ousted as his deputy.

With the next Ryder Cup at the Belfry less than 14 months away, the committee won't want the acrimony to rumble on and spoil Europe's preparation to try and win back the trophy.

Neil Coles, an English player now on the seniors tour, will chair the meeting. Quoted in The Times, he said he didn't think that James would lose his position as vice captain.

"The problem is it was Sam's choice to pick Mark for vice captain, not the committee's," he was quoted as saying.

"I am happy with what Sam decides. We do have the power to overrule Sam but I do not think we will exercise that power."

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