Langer's lesson encourages Ryder Cup hopefuls

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The Independent Online

Having been a professional for almost 30 years there is not much Bernhard Langer does not know about the game. But he learnt something new yesterday. Currently unable to play and rehabilitating from a wrist injury, he finds himself in the unusual position of having to qualify for the US Open and the Open Championship.

Having been a professional for almost 30 years there is not much Bernhard Langer does not know about the game. But he learnt something new yesterday. Currently unable to play and rehabilitating from a wrist injury, he finds himself in the unusual position of having to qualify for the US Open and the Open Championship.

Needing to fulfil his minimum number of tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic, what came as news to the Ryder Cup captain was that just going into the pre-qualifying counted as a tournament played. Thiscould have an effect on Jesper Parnevik and Luke Donald making themselves available for the European Ryder Cup team. Both have stated they will be unlikely to fulfil the 11-event minimum to qualify as a member of the European Tour.

The regulation has caused some controversy of late but Langer put up a united front with the European Tour executives. "I want to reiterate again that the Tournament Committee represents all the players and whatever they decide, in terms of everything we do on the European Tour, that goes," Langer said.

He wondered if Parnevik and Donald knew that merely trying to qualify for the US Open or the Open might help their cause. But Langer added: "If they want to play in the Ryder Cup they need to find out exactly what they need to do. They don't need to be baby-fed by a spoon, they are all adults."

Parnevik believes that by concentrating on getting into the top 30 in America and the top 50 in the world, he will have a better chance of making the team in 2006. Whatever the argument over the minimum number of tournaments, it might be expected for players to turn up for the European Tour's flagship event, this week's Volvo PGA Championship over the West Course.

Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, the world's Nos 2 and 3, are here but three of the leading four Europeans are not. Padraig Harrington has withdrawn for the second yearsaying he does not like the course and Sergio Garcia will not play in Europe until the Open. But Fredrik Jacobson has special dispensation to play in the States after missing three tournaments due to the birth of his first child in Florida.

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