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Europeans want change in Ryder Cup qualification

Colin Montgomerie and Thomas Bjorn, Europe's top performers in the Majors this season, called for urgent changes to Ryder Cup qualification on Tuesday - or we could face the consequences.

Montgomerie feels the player-drain to America next season will give skipper Sam Torrance major selection problems, while Bjorn predicts anything other than Europe's top team at The Belfry will lose.

"I feel sorry for Sam," said Montgomerie on Tuesday as he started his build-up to this week's £3.3million NEC Invitational here.

"It's up to the players to decide where they play, but I feel sorry that the Ryder Cup position will be dramatically hurt if these players decide that it's over here."

Jesper Parnevik has already quit the European Tour, Brookline partner Sergio Garcia will be predominantly America-based next season, while fellow Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez are also to take up their US Tour cards.

Jean Van de Velde, last year's Open runner-up, is seriously considering playing more here, as is Bjorn.

It could leave Torrance with an embarrassment of riches all wanting one of his two wild cards and Montgomerie feels something should be done before qualification for next year starts in Switzerland next month.

"I've always said the 12 should be picked, or at least six and six, because people are playing in different parts of the world now and we do need our strongest team," said Montgomerie.

"I feel for Sam because his hands are tied. He doesn't have the facility to pick them all."

Bjorn, second in the US Open and third at last week's US PGA, believes Europe will struggle to have their best team available for The Belfry.

"It's a shame because we need the best team available to have a chance," said the 29-year-old Dane.

"You should be rewarded for supporting the European Tour, but this is not two tours against one another, it's Europe against America.

"It doesn't matter if Jesper and Sergio play golf over here, it doesn't make them less European than anybody else.

"They should be among the team because they are definitely among the best players in the world."

Bjorn's compromise would be to select the top six from the European money list and then go down the world rankings to collect the other half of the team. He has another idea.

"A football manager decides who plays, so let's give the captain 12 picks because he'll want the best team," he said.

"If we have players good enough for the team and not on it, we have a problem. That's not the way to win the Ryder Cup.

"The competition will lose value if the top guys are missing. It's up to Sam to put pressure on the right people, although he might just settle for the way things are."

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