Golf: Ryder review on selection

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The Independent Online
European Tour officials are studying proposals to broaden the Ryder Cup qualification system which will not penalise players playing on other Tours.

Ken Schofield, the Tour executive director, said instead of the 10 automatic places being decided solely on European events in the 12 months prior to the Ryder Cup, world rankings could also be taken into account.

Schofield was responding to a call on Wednesday by Colin Montgomerie, the European No 1 for the past four years, for the 12 members of the team to be selected according to their world rankings.

The issue has been highlighted by the plight of US-based Swede Jesper Parnevik, currently ranked 15th in the world and runner-up in the British Open two weeks ago.

Because he is no longer a European Tour member, the only way he can qualify for the team is by gaining one of the two wild cards from the captain, Seve Ballesteros.

Schofield said he was against selecting players solely from the world rankings and preferred a combination of the European points table and the world rankings.

The executive director said this would then not penalise players playing events on other tours, providing they played the minimum of 11 events on their home European Tour.

This could pave the way for players such as Montgomerie and some of Europe's top youngsters, such as Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke, to play more events on the US Tour.

While the European Tour minimum appearance qualification is 11 events, the US Tour demands a minimum of 15. The four majors count as being part of both Tours.

In Malmo yesterday, Padraig Harrington shot a six-under-par 66 in the first round of the Volvo Scandinavian Masters to move one step nearer a celebrated Walker Cup and Ryder Cup double. Irishman Harrington, 25, three times a Walker Cup player before turning professional two years ago, has hit superb form in recent weeks and is now in line for making the European Ryder Cup team at Valderrama next month.