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Palmer urges US players to play globally

Arnold Palmer has taken a swing at America's top players, criticising their increasing reluctance to travel abroad to play in tournaments.

Palmer, in Sydney this week to celebrate the centenary of the Australian Open, a tournament he won in 1966, is disappointed the leading U.S. players no longer travelled the globe as his generation did.

"I had no problems travelling to the British Open or the Australian Open or Asia or Africa or anywhere else," the 75-year-old American told a news conference on Wednesday

"I think if there's a reflection on our really good American golfers it is that they are reluctant to travel around the world and participate in events in other countries."

The issue of America's top golfers refusing to compete overseas was raised again last week when nine players -- including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson -- turned down invitations to represent the U.S. at the World Cup in Spain.

The Australian Open is also missing the leading Americans. The tournament's impressive list of previous winners includes the likes of Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen and Tom Watson but the big names are nowhere to be seen this year.

Seven-times major winner Palmer said his modern-day compatriots were missing a golden opportunity: "Playing worldwide is something that is essential to being successful in the game of golf.

"If you're not inclined to want to go into the world and play against all the world-class golfers in their territory, then your chances of being a world-class golfer aren't as great as they would be if you did do that."

He added the reluctance of Americans to travel abroad was a factor behind their recent Ryder Cup losses. Europe have won four of the last five matches and Palmer felt it was because they were more experienced playing in foreign conditions.

"The Europeans play in all kinds of conditions, week-in, week-out, and our guys just aren't doing that as much," he said.

"In America today, the playing conditions are absolutely ideal and there are no flaws. Even the weather is better.

"I think it would improve the (U.S.) Ryder Cup team's competitiveness a little more if they played outside the United States in different conditions.

"When you get to a level where there are many players of pretty much the same standard, then something's got to be different.

"And I put it down to desire. You can't create desire to win the Ryder Cup in one week. That desire has to be grown through a period of time and you need to play overseas to get that."

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