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Parnevik returns to happy hunting ground

Jesper Parnevik, who lives in Florida and spends most of his professional career on the US Tour, spoke yesterday of how winning the Scottish Open in 1993 changed his outlook on the game and gave him the confidence to go and compete in the States.

The Swede only makes occasional appearances on the European Tour these days, but both Loch Lomond and the Scottish Open will always hold a special place in the Ryder Cup playerís affections.

"I love the course at Loch Lomond and itís great to have the Scottish Open back. Iíve missed it. Winning the Scottish Open at Gleneagles made a huge difference to me," he recalled. "I played with Payne Stewart on the last day and though I took a big lead into the final round, I remember not sleeping much the night before.

"I think I was seven shots in front and there was a feeling Iíd already won. But I hadnít done it yet and it bothered me I might go out there and make a fool of myself. It was unsettling.

"But I got off to a great start and Payne was a true gentleman. He applauded me onto the 18th green. To win the Scottish Open and play with Payne meant a great deal.

"It was then I decided to go to the US that autumn and try for my card at the Tour school. I got it and have pretty much played in the US ever since."

Parnevik is one of Europeís most successful exports to the States with five wins on the PGA Tour. Unfortunately, by concentrating on American events, the Swedeís hopes of qualifying for Sam Torranceís team to play at the Belfry are undermined by the system.

"I still think I can qualify," he insisted. "Good finishes at Loch Lomond and Lytham next week and I could make the team no problem. Sam spoke to me after I won the Honda Classic to congratulate me but said he didnít expect me to change my whole schedule to try and qualify. All he asked was he would appreciate it if I played well in the majors!"

Parnevik thinks the current system of two captainís picks and ten players off the European Order of Merit is outmoded in an era of global golf.

He thinks at future matches the captain should get four picks with the top eight off the world rankings qualifying automatically.

"I hope we donít have to get beaten badly to change the rules," Parnevik reflected.

"But I can see it happening one year that we donít have our best team. Iím sure Sam has been pulling his hair out all year."


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