Originally created 07/29/99

Duval wants Ryder Cup to spread the green



CROMWELL, Conn. -- David Duval swears he never used the "b" word, but he's not happy with how money from the Ryder Cup is disbursed.

"I never said there would be a boycott," Duval said Wednesday, the day before the Greater Hartford Open. "I don't think it will change unless four or five players get together and talk to the PGA of America and say, `We need to revisit this."'

The Ryder Cup players are not paid, and Duval and others want to designate where profits go. For that to happen, he says the players must get the attention of the organizers.

Duval is the top money winner on the PGA Tour. He also leads in points for the Ryder Cup, which will played in September at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

The tournament has been billed as the most profitable event in golf history. According to Golf Digest, this Ryder Cup could take in about $63 million while its organizers, The PGA of America, are expected to net roughly $16 million.

The players get a $5,000 stipend to play and qualify for the $5 million World Golf Championships. The winner will earn $1 million from that event played in Akron, Ohio, next month.

Duval, who has earned more than $3 million this year, said players need a say in doling out the Ryder Cup revenues.

"We should be given some money to designate to go where we want -- to my local charity back home or to some program I feel strongly about," he said.

Tiger Woods, second in Ryder Cup points, also advocates money going to charity. Others have questioned the system over the years, including Mark O'Meara, Lee Janzen, Scott Hoch and Jack Nicklaus.

It is a sensitive issue among players. Tom Lehman on Wednesday was reluctant to talk about it.

"There will never be a boycott. Tom Lehman will never boycott," Lehman said. "I would pay to play in the Ryder Cup. That's all I want to say about it."

Janzen said money would be less of an issue if the match were played without television and business sponsorships. The Ryder Cup, he said, was intended to be simply competition between two sides. But once money is involved, he said, it makes sense to pay the players.

"We're the product," he said.

Janzen added that each player should be given "a couple of hundred thousand dollars" to donate to a charity.

Phone calls to Jim Awtrey, the chief executive officer of the PGA of America, were not returned Wednesday. The organization has defended the system in the past, pointing out it pays for several golf and education programs in the country.

The money issue aside, Duval said he is looking forward to the Ryder Cup and the opportunity to bring the trophy back to America.

"Ultimately, pride does come into play," he said. "I certainly didn't enjoy getting beat at the Presidents' Cup."

The $2.5 million GHO at the TPC at River Highlands has a field that includes five of the tour's top money winners. This year's first prize is $450,000. Olin Browne a 15-year veteran is the defending champ.

Browne will try to become the first back-to-back champion of the tournament, sponsored by Canon. Last year's GHO title was Browne's first on tour. He picked up his second tour title in May at the Colonial.

"Winning made me feel like I had earned my spot out here," Browne said. "When you first get out here, your main concern is keeping your card ... but there's no substitute for achieving success."