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2001 Ryder Cup Qualifying Begins This Week

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Half of the 1999 European Ryder Cup team will be in action when the Canon European Masters is played in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, this week. It will be the start of qualifying for the 2001 edition to be played at The Belfry in England.
 
Included in the field are Paul Lawrie, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jarmo Sandelin. All were part of the team that lost to the United States in September of last year.
 
Nick Faldo is also a surprise entry into the tournament. He is scheduled to play in three of the next four in Europe. Faldo missed the competition last year but is the leading participant with 11 appearances.
 
Last year's European Masters was won by Westwood in a battle with Thomas Bjorn. Westwood became the third European to win back-to-back tournaments with the victory, joining Faldo and Seve Ballesteros in converting the trick.
 
Westwood continues to lead the European Order of Merit by approximately $60,000. Second is Clarke. Colin Montgomerie, in search of his eighth straight money title, is in fifth place almost $600,000 out of first with the season rapidly winding down.
 
Two who regularly play the U.S. tour, Ernie Els and Bob May, are in the top ten; Els is third and May stands ninth.