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Jesper Says No to Ryder Cup

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04 Ryder CupCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jesper Parnevik ruled himself out of playing in the Ryder Cup on Friday, saying he was not willing to play at least 11 events on the European tour as a requirement to make the team.
 
'There's no way,' Parnevik said after missing the cut by one shot at the Wachovia Championship. 'Even if I went after the U.S. Open and played three months straight, it's still too tough of a schedule to get that in. I don't want to beat myself up for 'maybe' getting on the Ryder Cup team.'
 
Europe changed its system for selecting its team and its rules for the September 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 World Golf Championships count toward the 11, but Parnevik is just now coming out of a slump and is not eligible for most of them. He already missed the Match Play Championship and the Masters, and he has to qualify for the U.S. Open and British Open.
 
Parnevik had only one top 10 last year on the PGA Tour and finished 118th on the money list.
 
The 39-year-old Swede, who was the European star when it lost at Brookline in the '99 Ryder Cup, already has four top 10s this year and is 40th on the money list.
 
'It's tough to alter your whole year just because of one week, even though it's a week ... I mean, I love the Ryder Cup,' Parnevik said. 'I think it's the most fun tournament you can have. But it's still too much. I would have to play 35 to 36 events this year. I was going to be dead by the Ryder Cup, anyway.'
 
He currently is 21st in the world ranking points for the Ryder Cup, but had he continued to play well, Langer might have considered him as a captain's pick. Parnevik has played primarily on the PGA Tour the last 10 years. He made the last three Ryder Cup teams as a wild-card selection.
 
European officials fear that without the membership policy, their tour would suffer.
 
Then again, Parnevik might not be the only player ineligible for the Ryder Cup team. Luke Donald of England, who also plays the PGA Tour full-time, also must find a way to squeeze in 11 European events to have a chance to play in his first Ryder Cup.
 
'I can see why the European tour do it and make people play 11 tournaments because they want players on the European tour,' Lee Westwood said from the British Masters.
 
'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.'
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.