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Seve backs change in Ryder Cup rules

Europe should change the rules to allow in-form Jose Marie Olazabal to play in this year's Ryder Cup, according to former captain Seve Ballesteros.

The 34th showdown between Europe and the United States was postponed last year following the September 11 attacks on the United States, but the two sides have decided to stick with the same sides.

Olazabal narrowly missed automatic qualification for the European team, and captain Sam Torrance gave his two wild cards to Swede Jesper Parnevik and Sergio Garcia of Spain.

"Olazabal is playing fantastic. He may win the Masters, he may win the U.S. Open and the British Open and he is not going to compete in the Ryder Cup. It is an incredible decision," Ballesteros was quoted as saying in the U.K.'s Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"Let the Americans do whatever they like. If they want to stay with the same team fine. But for us we should extend qualification for one more year.

"The decision to keep the same team I do not understand," added Ballesteros, who led Europe to a famous victory at Valderrama, Spain in 1997.

Olazabal, currently ranked 28th in the world, has been in fine form since winning the Hong Kong Open in December.

The Spaniard finished in a tie for fifth place at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am before setting a course record en route to winning the Buick Invitational at La Jolla last weekend.

The 1994 and 1999 Masters champion heads for the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play in California on Wednesday, where he will be joined by 23 of the 24 players due to play in the Ryder Cup.

Olazabal has been on the winning side in two of his six Ryder Cups, representing Europe in every match since 1987 with the exception of 1995, when he was injured.

His overall record in the competition is 15 wins, eight defeats and five halved matches.


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