European Ryder Cup Eligibility in Question

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04 Ryder CupMERIDEN, England -- Ryder Cup veteran Darren Clarke says the European Tour is right to require players to participate in 11 of its events to be eligible for the Ryder Cup.
 
On Friday, Swede Jesper Parnevik ruled himself out of the Ryder Cup. He plays on the U.S. tour and said meeting the European eligibility requirement was too difficult.
 
Englishman Luke Donald plays in the United States and also must find a way to squeeze in the 11 events.
 
'My personal opinion is that they should be members of the European Tour and whether it be right or wrong, it's my opinion,' Clarke said Saturday after a third-round 69 in the British Masters.
 
'It's unfortunate for Europe because Jesper [Parnevik] and Luke (Donald) are very, very strong players. But they do need to exhibit a commitment to the European Tour in some shape or form if they want to be part of the Ryder Cup team.'
 
On Friday, Clarke's friend Lee Westwood said the two should be permitted to play.
 
'I can see why the European tour do it and make people play 11 tournaments because they want players on the European tour,' Westwood said,
 
'It is very difficult because if you ask Jesper where he is from, he will say Sweden. And the last time I checked, the Ryder Cup was between Europeans and Americans, not the European tour and the U.S. PGA Tour.'
 
Clarke replied on Saturday to Westwood.
 
'I can see Lee's argument about players born in Europe and it is an issue that at some stage in the future we are going to have to review. The way things are going at the moment there is going to be potentially a lot more young guys who are going to play in America.'
 
Europe changed its system for selecting its team and its rules for the Sept. 17-19 matches at Oakland Hills.
 
The first five players are eligible from a list of world ranking points. The next five come from a European money list that started last September. Bernhard Langer has two captain's picks.
 
But every player must be a member of the European tour, which requires playing 11 events. The majors and the World Golf Championships count toward the 11.
 
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