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No anthem protest for US Presidents Cup golfers

© Getty/AFP/File / by Rebecca BRYAN | Steve Stricker of the United States plays a shot on the third hole during round one of The Northern Trust at Glen Oaks Club on August 24, 2017 in Westbury, New York


The US Presidents Cup team has opted against any sort of national anthem demonstration of the kind launched in the NFL and slammed by US President Donald Trump, team captain Steve Stricker said Tuesday.

Trump's bitter criticism of NFL players who declined to stand for the anthem in protest of racial injustice in America sparked a fierce backlash in the league, with more than 100 players demonstrating on Sunday.

The debate has spilled over into other sports, including NASCAR motor racing and even the staid world of golf.

PGA Tour professional Peter Malnati became one of the game's first pros to voice support for the demonstrations in a lengthy tweet this week.

Stricker said he had discussed the hot-button topic with his assistant captains and players as they prepare for the biennial matchplay showdown with an International team drawn from eight countries around the world.

"There were no issues on our part," Stricker said. "We had a good talk and we all realized that there are things going on in the world that aren't right.

"But we wanted to show our support for the flag," Stricker said, adding that acknowledging the anthem "gives us the opportunity to come together as a team".

The upshot Stricker said, was that US players planned to "do what we always do and that's take off our hat and put our hands across our chest and over our heart and respect the flag. So that's what we're planning on doing".

It's possible they won't even be called on to do that.

In a brief opening ceremony shortly before the first tee time on Thursday, fans at the first tee will see the Cup displayed and hear the US anthem sung by Darius Rucker.

But it's possible some or all of the players will still be warming up at the practice facilities at the time.

Tony Johnstone, an assistant to International team captain Nick Price, had already said he didn't believe it was the place of the visiting team members to stage any kind of demonstration.

"If somebody came from overseas came to my home country and started pontificating 'you should do this, you should do that,' I'd say 'why don't you get stuffed, it's got nothing to do with you'," said Johnstone, who like Price is from Zimbabwe.

by Rebecca BRYAN

© 2017 AFP