Ryder Cup about reaffirming golf's reputation, captains say
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) - Next year's Ryder Cup will be all about reaffirming golf's reputation for fairness in the wake of the controversy over a non-conceded putt at the Solheim Cup, the U.S. and European team captains said on Tuesday.
The Solheim Cup, which uses the same format as the Ryder Cup, was marred by a dispute over sportsmanship earlier this month when European stalwart Suzann Pettersen refused to concede a short putt to her American rival.
The incident at the 17th hole denied the United States a chance to square up the fourballs match and left players from both sides in tears.
Davis Love III and Darren Clarke, respective captains of the U.S. and European teams for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in Minnesota, said on a conference call that it was important for the biennial event to showcase why the sport is widely known as a "gentleman's game" based on fair play.
"This Ryder Cup will be played in the manner in which Davis and I respect each other. We've been friends for such a long time; I hold Davis in the highest regard... probably one of the best gentlemen in our sport," Clarke told reporters.
"The Solheim Cup was an unfortunate thing. What Suzann did was correct in The Rules of Golf, but in the spirit of the game, it was wrong. And she admitted that on Monday with hindsight. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing."
Clarke, confident that a similar incident would not happen under him, said Ryder Cup teams are briefed by referees and rules officials early in the week and players never touch a ball until they hear from their opposite numbers or the referees.
The Davis Cup showdown is three days of highly-charged match-ups between the best golfers from Europe and the United States that captivate huge numbers of fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Continued...