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Bjorn not convinced about Ryder Cup selection

The presence of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els has made the Dubai Desert Classic an important event in the race for places in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

But Thomas Bjorn, one of those who could benefit, believes the system used for deciding the side is still not right.

For the first time the world rankings are being employed in the selection process and with Woods and Els, first and third on the rankings, taking part at the Emirates Club many more points are on offer.

But Open runner-up Bjorn, currently outside an automatic spot, said: "I think we've got it wrong."

The Dane disagrees with the decision to pick five players from the total of world rankings points they earn from last September to the end of this August.

"I think it should be the top five on the rankings, which are worked out on an average of points over two years rather than an accumulation of points.

"In fact, if I was deciding the side I'd want eight to come off the world rankings and four wild cards."

Instead, five members of Bernhard Langer's line-up will be coming from the world list, five from a European Order of Merit points table and two wild cards.

Three years ago Sergio Garcia needed a wild card despite being the highest-ranked European. It was an attempt to avoid a repeat of that which prompted the change, but it remains to be seen how it works out.

Currently in the 10 automatic spots are Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Fredrik Jacobsen, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Brian Davis, Ian Poulter, Raphael Jacquelin, Carlos Rodiles and Maarten Lafeber.

Among those looking to force their way onto that list are Paul Casey, Bjorn, Garcia, 2001 heroes Paul McGinley and Phillip Price, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Alex Cejka and back-to-form Jesper Parnevik.

Casey is paired with Woods for the first two rounds in the United Arab Emirates, Woods returning to the event a year after pulling out of the tournament because of the looming war with Iraq.

The Middle East, of course, is still an area of massive tensions, but Woods' manager Mark Steinberg has declared himself "very comfortable" with the security arrangements made for one of the world's most famous sportsmen.

His last appearance was three years ago, when a double bogey seven at the final hole resulted in him finishing runner-up to Bjorn.

On Sunday Woods achieved the 53rd victory of his professional career in the Accenture Match Play Championship in California and immediately set off on a marathon journey via Shannon in Ireland which ended with him arriving in Dubai around midnight on Monday. There is a 12-hour time difference.

His appearances on the European Tour will again be limited this season.

He is definitely not making another trip to the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Heidelberg - "we never entered, so I was taken aback when it was announced he was withdrawing," said Steinberg - but he will be at Troon in Scotland for the Open in July and at Mount Juliet in Ireland for his defence of the American Express World Championship in September.

That comes two weeks after the Ryder Cup in Detroit and two weeks before the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth.

Woods chose not to play in that last October and Steinberg stated: "The timing is awkward again, but we spoke about it on the flight over here and there's still a chance."

Most could not resist the lure of a £1million first prize - the biggest in the sport - but Woods has close to 50 million US dollars in career earnings already, plus millions more from sponsorship deals and appearances like this week's.

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