Parnevik and Garcia miss out

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The Independent Online

Jesper Parnevik and Sergio Garcia have been given no guarantee that their absence from the NEC World Championship in Ohio, which began yesterday, will be rectified next year.

Jesper Parnevik and Sergio Garcia have been given no guarantee that their absence from the NEC World Championship in Ohio, which began yesterday, will be rectified next year.

The decision by the European Tour to offer places only to the 12 leading players in this season's Order of Merit was described by Greg Norman yesterday as "a crying shame". Parnevik, the world No 10, and Garcia - world No 15 - both missed out because they have been dividing their time between the American and European circuits. A possible solution when the tournament returns to Akron next August is for the world's top 50 to be guaranteed spots. But that has not been agreed yet.

Europe have decided that their places will be awarded to only the 12 leaders in the Ryder Cup points table at the time. "We will play concurrent in Europe, so those who are not here will have an opportunity also to play for Ryder Cup points," its executive director, Ken Schofield, said. That will hardly comfort Parnevik, Garcia and other players like Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez who will again be playing in both America and Europe next season.

Only two Ryder Cup wild cards are currently available to the captain Sam Torrance - that has been criticised by Colin Montgomerie among others - and if such top players find themselves excluded from an event offering a first prize of over £600,000 and guaranteed last place money of £15,000 Torrance could find himself having to leave one or more of them out when he names his Ryder side a week later.

Schofield pointed out that it was at the request of tour players that the 12 spots for the NEC championship be awarded on an annual basis rather than a two-year exemption be given to the 1999 Ryder Cup team. "All players who were in the top 30 on the Ryder Cup points table entering the US PGA championship last year were informed of that," Schofield added.

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