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Seve delays Ryder Cup team selection

Munich, Germany 27th August - European Ryder Cup team captain Seve Ballesteros of Spain has been spending much of his time in recent weeks worrying about two of his compatriots, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Martin, knowing they hold the keys to the final makeup of his squad.

Martin, 10th in the European Ryder Cup team standings heading into the final qualifying tournament this week, hasn't played since missing the cut at the British Open in July because of wrist surgery.

Ballesteros said "I have been calling Miguel Angel more often than I have been ringing my wife! The position is that if he qualifies he has every right to want to play. He says he is getting better, that he may be able to hit golf balls next week, and he may be able to play in the match if he qualifies.

"I want all my 12 players to be fit, so I have told him he can have the same length of time to tell me whether he can play as Olazábal had in 1995. That was one week, so if he qualifies he must tell me by Sunday 7th September In that case I would delay naming my choices until then, instead of this weekend as previously arranged.

By delaying his selections, Seve is making full use of the regulations, to ensure he gets the team he wants.

If Martin finishes in the top 10 but cannot play, the 11th-place finisher will make the team. Olazabal, a four-time Ryder Cup player, is currently 11th heading into this week's tournament, the BMW International Open, which is the final qualifying event. Last week, Olazabal tied for third in the Smurfit European Open to climb from 12th to 11th, moving ahead of Padraig Harrington of Ireland.

Olazabal only need to make the cut this week to maintain his position. He needs a 20th-place finish or better this week to pass Martin in the standings. Ballesteros does not necessarily want to see Martin out of the team, but he would like to see Olazabal qualify automatically so he doesn't have to use one of his captain's picks on Olazabal. It is thought that if Olazabal qualifies automatically, Ballesteros would then use his captain's picks to select Ryder Cup veteran Nick Faldo of England and Jesper Parnevik of Sweden.

If Olazabal fails to make the cut this weekend, then 13 players, including Harrington, have a chance to make the team. Harrington almost played himself out of contention by finishing 50th last week at the Smurfit European Open. He needs a top-seven finish this week for a Ryder Cup spot.

England's Paul Broadhurst, who made the 1991 team after finishing second in the final qualifying tournament in Germany, would need a third-place finish. Joachim Haeggmann, who four years ago became the first Swedish golfer to play in the Ryder Cup, would need a top-two placing, as would England's Roger Chapman, Mark James and Scotland's Sam Torrance, who has played in every Ryder Cup event since 1981.

The following players would need to win this week: Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, Scotland's Raymond Russell and Englishmen Peter Mitchell, David Gilford, Peter Baker, Russell Claydon and David Carter.

Only six players have clinched berths on the team: Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Per Ulrik-Johansson, and Lee Westwood. Spain's Ignacio Garrido and Italy's Costantino Rocca, seventh and eighth in the standings, will be looking for good finishes to assure their spots.