Ryder Cup fate depends on healing process

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The Independent Online

Political opinion, along with what is being called "the healing process" – rather than the players themselves – could decide whether or not the Ryder Cup will go ahead.

Political opinion, along with what is being called "the healing process" – rather than the players themselves – could decide whether or not the Ryder Cup will go ahead.

Most of the American team yesterday, led by the world No 1 Tiger Woods, seemed in favour of postponing the tournament, which is due to take place between Europe and the United States at The Belfry from 28-30 September. The sombre mood in the US camp follows this week's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, but much could depend on President George W Bush's administration.

Speaking after the decision to cancel this week's World Golf Championship, Jim Autrey, the chief executive of the USPGA, said: "We continue to have discussions with [team captain] Curtis Strange and the safety of the team and their families is of utmost importance.

"It is our desire for the Ryder Cup to go forward. Having said that... Every logistic connected with the matches is a process which will take a number of days and which will require input from our government."

The LPGA, however, said it would proceed with its tournament in Portland, Oregon. Commissioner Ty Votaw said they were following President Bush's plea "to start to get our country back to normal so the healing can begin".

Most weekend sport in America, includingAmerican Football, baseball and Major League Soccer, have all been postponed, while the Davis Cup match against India is in doubt.

Domestically, most sports will continue in a respectful atmosphere. There will be a minute's silence before kick-off at all Premiership matches and players are to wear black armbands in all games in England and Scotland this weekend. A Premiership spokesman said: "After much consideration we have decided that the weekend fixtures should be played. The games will provide supporters with an opportunity to pay their respects."

West Ham will not to fly to their Premiership game against Middlesbrough this weekend but will travel by coach.

A decision was also made to play the postponed Champions' League matches, Manchester United v Olympiakos and Celtic v Rosenborg, on Wednesday 10 October. United were due to play in the Worthington Cup that night. Ipswich, Leeds, Aston Villa and Chelsea must rearrange their Premiership schedule in order to play their held-over Uefa Cup fixtures next Thursday.

Manchester United will pay £150 compensation to each of their 1,000 fans who bought a ticket for Wednesday's postponed Champions' League game against Olympiakos.

PSV Eindhoven have lodged a request with Uefa to replay Tuesday's Champions' League matches, claiming that they only agreed to play on the understanding that Wednesday's games would also take place. PSV lost 4-1 to Nantes. The Nantes chairman, Kleber Bobin, said: To be frank, I think this is a bit ridiculous." Austria have asked for their World Cup qualifier against Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to a neutral venue.

New Zealand have cancelled their cricket team's tour of Pakistan, because of the proximity to Afghanistan, while England plan to go ahead with their tours of Zimbabwe later this month and India next month.

Despite the Ryder Cup being in the balance, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie was a lone voice in actually calling for the event to go ahead, as a gesture of solidarity, arguing that can-cellation would merely be a further victory for terrorism.

"If it is cancelled or postponed you are allowing the terrorists to win," Montgomerie said. "It's too early now but let's hope that two weeks is a long time. We can use this to be beneficial in a way, to unite us through sport."

Mitchell Platts, spokesman for the Ryder Cup Board, said: "We are working closely with the police and other security services to ensure we are taking every possible step to maximise security and safety."

Woods, who is due to discuss the situation with the USPGA, seemed pessimistic. "I really don't know. It's very tough for everybody," he said.

Jim Furyk felt that "there are a lot more important things in life", while the Open champion, David Duval, said: "Even if its on, I don't know if I'll go. It's not so much the match that concerns me as the travel."

The comment of others, like Mark Calcavecchia, suggested the healing process had already started. "You've got to move on. If you don't, you're giving in."

Reminded that, shortly after the attacks, he suggested that it would be wise to forget about the Ryder Cup for at least a few months, he added: "If you would have asked me yesterday, I'd probably say that it wouldn't be played. Ask me again next Monday or Tuesday and you might get a different answer."

Worldwide Update

Golf: The PGA has yet to make a decision on the Ryder Cup. The World Championship in St Louis and Tampa Bay Classic have been cancelled.

Football: All weekend fixtures in England and Scotland will take place. Tonight's League of Wales matches ­ Barry v Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth v Cwmbran ­ have been postponed. The weekend Italian programme will go ahead.

Cricket: New Zealand have cancelled their tour of Pakistan.

Ice Hockey: Tomorrow's games between Bracknell Bees and Newcastle Jesters, and Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers, have been postponed and replaced by Bracknell v Belfast Giants and Nottingham v Ayr Scottish Eagles. Newcastle v Belfast and Sheffield v Bracknell on Sunday are off.

Canoeing: The World Championships in Tennessee on 19-23 September have been cancelled.

Athletics: The Afro-Asian Games due to start in New Delhi 3-11 November have been postponed.

American Sport: The NFL has postponed this weekend's American football games. Baseball will resume on Monday.

Boxing: Tomorrow's world middleweight title fight between Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins at Madison Square Garden in New York City has been postponed.