By Mark Garrod in Jerez



Colin Montgomerie expressed his surprise today at a decision of the European tour's tournament committee which could keep him and the entire Ryder Cup team out of next August's World Championship event in America.

The committee has announced that, rather than the 12 players under Mark James qualifying as they did this year, the places will go to the leading 12 Europeans on the 2000 Order of Merit on August 13 - two weeks before the five-million dollar tournament at Akron, Ohio.

This August's tournament, won by Tiger Woods, was restricted to members of the Ryder and President's Cup teams and the American team in Boston five weeks ago will play in the event again next year.

Montgomerie is a member of the committee but did not attend the meeting at which the decision was taken.

His own reduced schedule next season means that even as the world's number three he is not guaranteed a place - and winning the Masters in April would not help because it does not count towards the Order of Merit.

"It seems a bit strange," he said. "But if I win the Masters I would not care. I'd sit at home all week in my green jacket."

The Scot believes there is a real danger of Swede Jesper Parnevik, the world number 15, not taking part. He plays nearly all his golf on the US Tour.

"It's a shame for him. He should be there and he might not be. And since the world championship counts for the US and European money lists he loses out."