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Sides discuss Ryder pay

Officials from the PGA of America and the PGA Tour put a positive spin on talks concerning paying players to participate in the Ryder Cup.

The issue has been a hot topic in recent weeks since David Duval suggested in a national golf magazine that players might not want to participate in the biennial competition if they are not paid, or at least if they don't have more of a say in where the huge profits are directed.

On Tuesday, the sides met at Medinah Country Club, site of the PGA Championship, where the U.S. team will be finalized this weekend.

"I'd like to reaffirm that no player, not any of the players, were interested in being paid for their participation in the Ryder Cup," said Jim Awtrey, CEO of the PGA of America. "They're very supportive of the Ryder Cup, what it stands for, what the PGA of America's about and where we're going to go from here. We're going to be working together to look at how we can continue to grow the game of golf, support the Ryder Cup and look at how we can involve (the players) in the charitable input."

The Ryder Cup, Sept. 24-26 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., is expected to generate $17-million for the PGA of America, which distributes some of the money to various causes. The players receive $5,000 stipends.

Although Awtrey said no player asked to be compensated, Tiger Woods earlier in the day suggested just that.

"This is the way I would personally like to see it," Woods said. "I would like to see, whatever the amount is, $200,000, $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 . . . whatever it is, we should be able to keep the money and do whatever we see fit.

"For me personally, I would donate all of it to charity. But I think it's up to the other person's discretion of what they want to do with it. With all the money that's being made, I think we should have a say in where it goes.

"Whatever I receive, it would go to the charities that I have worked with in the past and my own foundation. I think that's the way it should be done."

Stay tuned.

RYDING THE EDGE: In order to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Safety Harbor's John Huston will need a big week. At one time, Huston was among the top 10 players in a points race that culminates Sunday. But he has slipped to 13th.

To reach the top 10, Huston must finish no worse than solo seventh. If Jeff Maggert, in 10th place, moves up, then Huston would need to finish solo sixth. The scenario also assumes that Tom Lehman and Steve Stricker, who are 11th and 12th are the list, respectively, do not finish among the top 10.

FEELING THE HEAT: British Open champion Paul Lawrie is playing, the first time he has played a tournament in the United States. A native of Scotland, Lawrie's only experience with American golf is in Orlando, where he has visited his instructor, David Leadbetter. One thing he'll have to get used to is the heat.

"I'm not too good in extreme heat," he said. "Hopefully, it's not going to be too humid. But I've been in the sauna last week when I was home every day, trying to prepare myself for the heat. Normally, I don't function too well in humidity. I'm not the fittest person in the world. There's always a first time. Hopefully, it's this week."

BROWNISH GREENS: The heat that stifled the Midwest in recent weeks did Medinah no favors. Heat indexes were more than 100 degrees, and although the temperature is more pleasant now, several of the greens were almost lost. Despite hand watering on all of the greens, many are brown.

"The weather the last three or four weeks has not been ideal to get the course in perfect shape," Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal said. "The ball is rolling well at the moment, but you see a lot of brown patches."

"It's a great golf course," U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart said. "But I know the superintendent and the PGA aren't happy.'"