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US win good for Cup - Ballesteros

Seve Ballesteros
Ballesteros is worried for the future of the Ryder Cup

Seve Ballesteros wants the USA to win the Ryder Cup in September because he fears Europe's stranglehold on the event is becoming "boring".

Europe have won the last three Ryder Cups - the last two by record margins - and the Spanish legend claims interest in the biennial competition is waning.

"I hope the Americans win this year in all seriousness," he told the Mirror.

"I see the Ryder Cup getting very boring because we are beating them so badly. Everybody is losing interest."

Ballesteros, 51, played in eight Ryder Cups from 1979 until 1995 and captained the victorious European team at Valderrama, Spain, in 1997.

I don't want to see a competition looking like a church service - I want to see a bullfight between the bull and the matador

Seve Ballesteros

Along with skipper Tony Jacklin, Ballesteros was at the forefront of Europe's rejuvenation in the competition in the early 1980s, culminating in victory at the Belfry in 1985, the first European win since 1957.

But the five-time major winner believes the tables have turned, and that Europe's victories in five of the last six events, including record 18-9 wins in Ireland in 2006 and Oakland Hills, USA, in 2004, are undermining the allure of the competition.

"I just hope the matches are a little bit closer because they have been no-contests," Ballesteros added.

"My heart is always with the Europeans but my head is with the Americans for the good of the trophy."

Europe's recent success is often attributed to a closer team spirit, while American stars such as world number one Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are often accused of not caring enough.

European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo (left) and US skipper Paul Azinger
Faldo (left) and Azinger have had their share of run-ins

To re-energise the American team, new captain Paul Azinger has revamped the selection process, with four captain's picks instead of the traditional two.

As home captain, Azinger has also switched the format of the opening session of this year's matches from fourballs to foursomes for the first time since 1999, the last occasion the USA won the Ryder Cup.

The Americans triumphed in controversial circumstances at Brookline nine years ago, an event infamous for the levels of abuse aimed at the European team by spectators.

The US players also angered the Europeans by invading the 17th green after Justin Leonard drained a long putt before Jose Maria Olazabal had holed out, but recent contests have been conducted in a more sportsmanlike manner.

Ballesteros enjoyed a stormy Ryder Cup relationship with Azinger, with the pair clashing at the Belfry in 1989 and Kiawah Island two years later.

European captain Nick Faldo has also had run-ins with Azinger over the years but Ballesteros believes the American's feisty character will bring some much-needed spark to the event.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Rob H

"We know how tough Paul Azinger is and how competitive he is," said Ballesteros.

"I don't think they will resort to bad sportsmanship but we need a little bit of something.

"Golf is a gentlemanly sport but we need some kind of controversy to make the news and make it competitive.

"I don't want to see a competition looking like a church service. I want to see a bullfight between the bull and the matador."

Azinger will name his wild cards on 2 September, two days after Faldo completes his line-up with two captain's picks.

The 2008 Ryder Cup takes place from 19-21 September at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.




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