Faldo trys to diffuse McGinley resignation controversy

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KILLENARD, Ireland, Sep 28 (Reuters) Britain and Ireland Seve Trophy captain Nick Faldo refused to discuss the row over Paul McGinley's resignation as his Ryder Cup vice-captain after the home skipper's side fell behind Europe.

McGinley had resigned as joint vice-captain with Jose Maria Olazabal the previous day, citing his wish to try to play his way into Faldo's team rather than devote time to deputy's duties.

McGinley's absence, the withdrawal of British Open champion Padraig Harrington and no Irishmen in the home side, contributed to meagre crowds on the opening day which ended with favourites Britain and Ireland trailing Seve Ballesteros's visitors 3-2.

With fewer than 300 spectators in the gallery at the Heritage club as the last match finished, Ballesteros, whose company Amen Corner, promotes the event, was justified in being disappointed at the subdued atmosphere.

A national ploughing championships 20 miles away in Tullamore was attracting crowds of 80,000.

Some of the blame was laid on Faldo, who picked two Britons, Simon Dyson and Marc Warren for his wild-cards instead of opting for an Irish player.

Irish newspapers reported yesterday that Faldo had offered McGinley one of his wild-cards when he was unable to contact Dyson and then changed his mind when Dyson agreed to play, prompting McGinley to resign his vice-captaincy.

Beginning a news conference, Faldo said: ''I'm obviously aware of what's going on in the media and in view of that I will not be talking about anything to do with the Ryder Cup.'' McGinley earlier, had passed up the chance of confirming whether he had been at first asked by Faldo to play at the Heritage club this week.

Through a management spokesman McGinley told Reuters: ''I don't want to get into a slanging match and I just want it to go away.'' Away from the controversy, Faldo said he was delighted with the day, especially with his bigger role next year as Ryder Cup captain.

''That was some great golf,'' he told the news conference. ''I think I can gather an awful lot of information from the week and that is very important on how I use it for next year.'' REUTERS BJR PM1044

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