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Carl Pettersson prepared to miss Ryder Cup chance
April 18, 2012

Carl Pettersson was runner-up at both the Sony Open and Houston Open before he cashed in last week with a win at Hilton Head. Three high finishes would be enough to put him at No. 10 in the Ryder Cup standings, except for one small problem.

The Swede is not eligible for Ryder Cup points.

''You have to be a member of the European Tour, which I'm not,'' Pettersson said Tuesday.

That was not an oversight. Pettersson has lived in America since he was a teenager, and last year became a U.S. citizen. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children, who are about to turn 5 and 8. He feels this is a key time to be at home instead of traveling the world to meet the minimum 13 tournaments to be a European Tour member.

''It's too hard to play two tours at once,'' Pettersson said. ''It's hard to compete on one, let alone two. I've seen others try to do two. It's very difficult. Luke Donald did it last year. I know it's a Ryder Cup year. But if I'm playing well, maybe they'll take me.''

Donald became the first player to win the money title on both tours last year. For most members of both tours, they have the advantage of eight tournaments that count toward both - four majors and four World Golf Championships. Until he won last week, Pettersson wasn't eligible for any of them.

''With a wife and two kids ... before this win, I wasn't in any of the majors, maybe the PGA,'' he said. ''To play 13 over there, I'm quite happy playing the PGA Tour.''

Pettersson, known as the ''Swedish Redneck'' for his European heritage and Southern home, has played outside the United States just twice in the last two years - both times at the Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, an unofficial PGA Tour event. He last played a full European Tour schedule in 2002.

''I understand why the European Tour does make you be a member. It's a bargaining tool to get top players back to Europe,'' Pettersson said.

In the meantime, Pettersson can gear up for the majors. The Masters was the only major he played last year. His win at Hilton Head made him eligible for the PGA Championship and the Masters next year. He is No. 35 in the world and must stay in the top 60 for the U.S. Open and top 50 for the British Open over the next five weeks.

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