|Ben Crenshaw, right, finds himself in the center of a firestorm.|
After both shooting 2-under 70s to get in contention in the PGA Championship, they dismissed the importance of the Ryder Cup despite captain Ben Crenshaw's attempt to get them to rally around the flag.
"It seems like a pretty large corporate outing," Duval said.
"It's an exhibition. It always has been," Woods added. "It's not meant to be played as a war."
It seemed that way, however, to others, such as journeyman Bruce Zabriski, who sneaked into the press room to watch Crenshaw talk about flag and country a day earlier and used the inspiration to go out and shoot a 70 of his own.
"I could have walked through brick walls after that speech," Zabriski said.
Duval watched the same speech on television and came away wondering just what Crenshaw was trying to say. Woods didn't even bother to watch.
Both tried to concentrate on their golf, despite the firestorm that overshadowed the start of the season's final major.
"I just went out and played," Duval said. "You know, when you get inside the ropes, I think it's easy to forget about stuff."
A day after Crenshaw had lashed out at top players for worrying more about where the money from the Ryder Cup goes than in winning the cup back from Europe, the captain said he may have spoken a bit too much from the heart.
"I'm from a different generation where the Ryder Cup means a lot to us," Crenshaw said. "I'm upset people aren't jumping over the moon about it."
Most players would jump over the moon to make the team that tries to regain the cup next month. But four top players already on the team have talked more about how the money is divided than how they can win the cup.
That may say something about team unity with a little more than a month before the United States plays Europe at The Country Club at Brookline outside of Boston.
"I want 12 committed players going to Boston," Crenshaw said after shooting a 77 in the opening round of the PGA. "I want our players to be unified. To be honest, I haven't seen that in the last four teams."
Crenshaw, who played on four Ryder Cup teams, sees the competition that began in 1927 as a historic opportunity to wave the flag and make the country proud.
Woods, Duval, Mark O'Meara and Phil Mickelson see it as something else -- a corporate-run event that reportedly will gross $63 million using players who have nothing to say about where the money goes.
"It's not greed," Woods insisted. "It's the fact we want to help out. We want to donate money to our charities in our local areas. There's so much money being generated at the Ryder Cup, it's become a corporate event."
The players met with PGA officials Tuesday in an hour-long meeting at which they all proclaimed themselves "on the same page." But that supposed unity was shattered the next day when Crenshaw gave his press room speech in which he said it "burns the hell out of me to listen to some of their viewpoints."
Duval said after watching the outburst on TV, he called Crenshaw, not thinking Crenshaw was referring to him.
"He said he was," Duval said.
Duval spent much of his time after the opening round of the PGA defending his position on the issue.
He never, Duval said, asked for money to play on the team. It is an honor to play, he said.
Still, Duval didn't back down over a desire to give money from the event to charities of his choice.
"Nobody even thought this was a major event 10 years ago," Duval said. "I can only tell you what I think and feel. I have a hard time not answering questions when I'm asked."
Duval was not alone in feeling that his remarks about Ryder Cup money were misinterpreted and misreported.
"The media keeps saying it's pay-for-play, and I don't see it that way," O'Meara said. "I take offense to the fact that somebody might call me unpatriotic."
O'Meara said Crenshaw left him a message apologizing for his comments, and Crenshaw backed down just a bit Wednesday. But he still was passionate about the Ryder Cup.
"I know they're from different generations and I'm trying to understand that," Crenshaw said. "Obviously, there was quite a bit of frustration. I can't expect everybody to be as passionate as I am, especially about the history."
On the outside looking in were players such as Zabriski and Jay Haas, who voiced support for Crenshaw despite having no chance for making the team.
Brian Watts, who doesn't get Ryder Cup points because he was born in Canada even though he is a U.S. citizen, had a similar view.
"I'll just say this. I'd die for my country, so I'd really like to play on the Ryder Cup," Watts said.
Tom Lehman does have a good chance of making the team, but had heard enough about the controversy.
"I'm so sick of it I could just barf," Lehman said.