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Van der Velde in danger on both tours

Jean Van de Velde is in danger of being kicked off the European Tour's Order of Merit because of his preference for playing in America.

The Frenchman, who finished 54th in the Lancome Trophy, has played just five tournaments in Europe this year and is currently ranked a lowly 160th in the world.

Rules state that a player must complete 11 European rounds to be included in the Order of Merit rankings otherwise he "shall not be eligible for reinstatement to PGA European Tour membership" for 24 calendar months.

Van de Velde's chief hope against such a ban resides with the tour's executive director Ken Schofield, who has it in his power to waive the punishment.

"I made up my mind after The 1999 Open to go to America and set myself another challenge," Van de Velde said. "It was not the easy route to take and now I find myself where I am.

"I had a conversation with Ken and told him that if I didn't play the 11 this season it's not because I am being difficult.

"I've tried to support the tour as much as I could and I've never been in this situation before. I don't think anybody has been banned, but it's not something I am comfortable with."

Van de Velde has had just one top-10 finish so far - and that was in the first week of January.

The Frenchman also has his problems in America. Unless he can earn around $200,000 in under a month on his return to the US Tour next week he will not be exempt for the 2002 season there.

In addition if his membership is extended by Schofield, Van de Velde could find himself having to go to the qualifying school in Europe as well.


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