Lyle could lose his exempt status this week after 25 years. He needs at least a top-nine finish in the Telefonica Madrid Open to have any chance of keeping his place as one of the circuit's top 40 career money-winners. Without that, he would not be eligible to play in 2004 - despite the fact that he has won the British Open and Masters, been the leading European Tour money-winner three times. and won 25 tournaments between 1979 and 1992.
'I think that's bad,' said Ballesteros. 'Sandy is still a great champion and brings in people to the course. He did a tremendous job and I think they should take that into consideration and change the rule.'
'I can't see any sponsor not wanting Sandy Lyle to play in their event,' Harrington added. 'I would still want to watch him and I think they should rejig the all-time money list.'
Harrington agrees. 'What about the pro who has put in a lot without becoming the star that Sandy is? He would not necessarily get the invites that Sandy can still expect if he loses his card,' he said.