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Thomas Bjorn slams European absentees

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn hit out strongly on Wednesday at golfers who have opted to carry on playing in America instead of appearing in their own European Tour flagship event this week at Wentworth.

Although Bjorn, a European Tour tournament committee member, did not name names, world number eight Sergio Garcia is not at the BMW Championship -- the new name for the European PGA Championship.

The Spaniard has played only one regular European Tour event this season, the Johnnie Walker Classic in China last month.

Another notable absentee is successful 2004 European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer, who has said he wants to try to play again in the team.

Britons Justin Rose and Phillip Price have also decided not to come back to their local tour.

Bjorn, British Masters winner 10 days ago, said: "It's any players' right to do whatever they want, do whatever they think is best for them. The Tour can't, and the players can't, start pressurising them to play.

"But we stick together as a Tour and you are either part of it, or you're not.

"If you're part of it, you come here and play. If you don't show any interest, well don't expect the Tour and the rest of the players that do play on this Tour to show any interest in them."

The Dane added: "The guys that come back every blue moon and think they can start changing the Tour around, we don't need them because the Tour is bigger than any player.

"I don't want sanctions against them but don't expect favours when it comes to the Ryder Cup if you can't come back once every year and play in our biggest tournament."

Europe's 2006 captain Ian Woosnam recently expressed concern that having too many Europeans playing in America next year could affect his 10 automatic qualifying places.

Bjorn has similar worries. "I would like to see us having the best team every time, but it might not end up like that for the near future," said the Dane.


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