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Langer still undecided about 2004 Ryder Cup

Germany's Bernhard Langer is still considering whether to apply for the 2004 Ryder Cup captaincy, he said on Wednesday ahead of this week's last ever Benson and Hedges International.

Three of Europe's potential Ryder Cup captains will play at The Belfry, with Langer being joined by Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam.

All have been tipped to captain Europe at Oakland Hills, Michigan next year but they still hold hopes of playing, rather than captaining.

A decision will not be announced until the week of the British Open in July, but the three will have to apply well before then.

Langer told reporters on Wednesday that he had not officially applied, though he said:

"I'm seriously thinking about putting my name forward but I have two issues that are holding me back.

"One is that I might like to play once more, but I have to see how my game is.

"The other is that my daughter will be starting college at around that time and I would hate to miss that day. I need to clear up both these matters so I want to wait as long as I can."

Langer revealed that he and Woosnam have had to give up their idea of a shared 'deal' in which one would be captain over the next two Ryder Cups if the other got into the team.

"The Ryder Cup committee ruled that out at their last meeting," he said.

While Langer looks to kick-start his season in only his third event, Faldo, 34th on the order of merit, and Woosnam, 35th, are already showing signs they might be good enough to make the team.

All three would be happy to make an impact at the final B & H, the last event because of a statute banning tobacco advertising.

Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, looking for a third B&H title, and his second in four years, is one of the favourites this week and keen to win the tournament's swansong.

"It's going to be a great loss to the tour because this is like a curtain raiser -- the ringing of a bell to signify it's now time for everyone to start playing well," he said.

South Africa's Retief Goosen, at nine, is the highest world-ranked player in the event, in which Argentine Angel Cabrera defends his title.

Among the other contenders is Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who was disqualified dramatically just before the final round in the 2000 event when leading by five strokes after it was discovered he had not signed his first round card.

 

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