Contrary to what some of the English tabloids have suggested in recent days, Mark O'Meara said today neither he nor Tiger Woods has any intention of boycotting September's Ryder Cup in Brookline, Mass., over the issue of no pay for the players.
During the past few years, O'Meara has been among the more outspoken advocates of paying the players for participating in a competition that produces millions of dollars for the event's governing bodies -- the PGA of America and the European PGA Tour.
"The Ryder Cup is a very special event," said O'Meara, who will begin his defense of the British Open title here Thursday. "I've never denied that. Playing for your country is an honor, but I think playing as a team is what the honor is all about. But as long as the PGA of America and the European PGA Tour feel like the money is going back to further the game or it's going back to good charities, I have no problem not being paid.
"All I'm saying is that there is a lot of money being made somewhere. . . . But some of the stuff that I read that I'm going to boycott or Tiger Woods is going to boycott or that I'm demanding this, demanding that -- I've never demanded anything. You asked me a point of view, I gave you a point of view. Some people agree and some people don't agree. That's life."
O'Meara would like the Ryder Cup to follow the method of compensation used in the Presidents Cup, which is run by the PGA Tour. Each player competing in that event -- which will be held at Robert Trent Jones Club near Manassas in 2000 -- has a significant sum of money donated to his favorite charity on his behalf. He also said he deeply resents criticism that was leveled at the U.S. team after it failed to bring back the Ryder Cup two years ago at Valderrama in Spain.
"I don't think it's fair that fingers should be pointed at certain players unless we didn't act properly," he said. "I think we did act properly as a team. I didn't get paid to play at Valderrama and I don't think we should be crucified because our team didn't play any good. Who cares? So what? Move on. Forget it. It's not the end of the world."
Scotland in Stride
Zane Scotland, the English 16-year-old who qualified Monday to play in the British Open, insists he is not intimidated by the prospect of competing with the game's greatest stars in the world's oldest major championship.
Scotland, who didn't start playing until he was 11, said he was "very excited" to meet Gary Player on Tuesday, but added: "I don't think it's daunting at all. For me, I'm just going to go and play golf like I normally do and let everyone else be themselves and get in the zone."