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Luke Donald won't give up on European Tour

United States-based Luke Donald is in two minds as to how he wants to retain his Ryder Cup place, but the 27-year-old Briton is adamant he will retain his full European Tour status.

Englishman Donald was persuaded to play the mandatory 11 European Tour events by European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer and former Tour chief Ken Schofield to ensure he had full rights to qualify for last year's Cup campaign.

While Donald narrowly failed to qualify for the 12-man team via either the European or world ranking points tables, he did enough to earn one of Langer's two wildcard picks.

"I will have to sit down and think how much I want to play over here," world number 15 Donald said on Wednesday as he prepared for this week's BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried.

"Hopefully I will be playing well enough whereby my world ranking will take care of itself, but I will definitely be playing 11 events on the European Tour."

It was straight after last year's BMW International Open that Donald learned he had got the nod for his Ryder Cup debut as one of Langer's wildcard choices, along with Briton Colin Montgomerie.

He found out while flying to Switzerland for the European Masters with close friend Sergio Garcia, an event Donald went on to win to justify Langer's faith.

Donald then realised his playing schedule could cover both the European and U.S. PGA Tours, unlike fellow Briton Greg Owen, who this week renounced his European Tour membership to focus on the U.S. circuit.

"You can sympathise with Greg, because if you are not in the world's top 50 it takes too much out of you physically and mentally to travel and play a full 11 (European events) without being in the majors and world (championship) events," said Donald.

"That's why for a long time I played solely in America."

A tie for sixth at last week's prestigious WGC-NEC Invitational in Akron, Ohio gave Donald hope his first victory of the year is just around the corner after sevreal close calls but he will be hard pushed to achieve it in Munich this week.

Ireland's Paul McGinley, who tied for third in Akron behind Tiger Woods, has set his sights on victory to qualify for the elite World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, England in September.

Former winner Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, whose birdie putt at the last two weeks ago lipped out to deny him a chance of a playoff with Phil Mickelson for the U.S. PGA Championship title at Baltusrol , is also in the field.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, despite suffering a sore throat, will be bidding to become the first player to retain the BMW International Open title when he tees off in Thursday's opening round.

World number 11 Padraig Harrington and American John Daly, who finished second and first respectively at the 2001 tournament, are also expected to contend strongly this week.


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