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Sergio Garcia confident of Ryder Cup place

World number six Sergio Garcia says he has no plans to step up his appearances in Europe during the next 12 months to win a Ryder Cup spot.

Traditionally, Europeans have won places in the team through their home European Tour but the Spaniard is gambling instead on performing well in the four majors and PGA Tour events in the U.S. to claim his spot through world points.

His appearances in Europe will be limited to 11 tournaments over the next year but that does not include next month's HSBC World Matchplay at Wentworth which offers a one million pounds ($1.78 million) first prize, the richest in golf.

"It was a close call but I have things on that week (Wentworth)," Garcia said on Wednesday, the day before the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre on the Swiss alps. He did not elaborate.

"Definitely it's a chance for others to get points for the Ryder Cup but I don't worry about it.

"I need to keep playing well and gain world ranking points.

"I feel confident and I don't think it (qualifying) will be a problem," added 25-year-old Garcia.

He has played in the last three Ryder Cups and won 11 points from 15 matches including four and a half from last year's record 18 1/2-9 1/2 European win in Detroit.

He needed a wild card in 2002 but made the team comfortably last year through the world points list.

As was the case for 2004 Ryder Cup qualification, five European places will be won through the European Tour, five through the world points list and two will go to captain Ian Woosnam's wild card selections for the September 2006 match in County Kildare, Ireland.

The European Masters on the Crans course in Switzerland, which is used as a world cup ski course in the European winter, is the first counting event in the Ryder Cup qualifying points race.

Woosnam has expressed concern about how many of his men will be on the US Tour next year, leaving too many trying to qualify from the world table, and this week's defending champion Luke Donald may be another going down that route.

Briton Donald, who needed Bernhard Langer's wild-card last year, is anxious to get off to a good start.

"The Ryder Cup will become more prominent as the year progresses but it can't do any harm to accumulate some world ranking points and prize money early," said Donald.

"Obviously I would like to qualify by rights from my own efforts, rather than rely on a wild-card."

While Garcia is keen to continue a better recent putting record, Donald has to pick himself up after a second near-miss.

Two weeks ago he faded to finish tied sixth in the WGC NEC Invitational behind Tiger Woods, after sharing the lead with the world number one at the halfway stage.

Last week Donald, who is staying at Garcia's house in Crans this week, not only let a halfway share of the lead slip but also a one-shot lead going into the final round of the BMW International Open in Munich, eventually finishing tied 11th.

Italy's newly-crowned U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari is in the Crans field.

Garcia has already taken to the Italian champion and said: "I look forward to playing a practice round or two with him at the Masters and I think he has a big future."

 

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