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Mark James warns Faldo over curent form

European captain Mark James has warned Nick Faldo to get back on form if he wants a place in this year's Ryder Cup.

James said a player such as Faldo could not rely on nostalgia alone to make the team to play America in Brookline in September.

"We have too much strength in depth for me to hand a wild card to someone playing on a wing and a prayer," he said.

James, speaking the day before the next European Tour event, the Estoril Open, said his selection for Massachusetts would focus only on form players and Faldo had gone two years without a tournament victory.

The Briton's last win was in the Nissan Open in Los Angeles in 1997.

"If a player like Nick Faldo is on form then I want him in the side but if he's not on form then I wouldn't consider him an asset," James said.

James will have 10 automatic qualifiers and make two wild-card picks from players close to qualifying.

Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie have already clinched their Ryder Cup places and James acknowledged that England's Lee Westwood was on the brink.

But Faldo, Westwood's partner in the last clash against the U.S. in 1997, is in the wilderness for the moment.

The six-time major champion, who holds the record for Ryder Cup appearances and victories, has slumped to 99th in the world rankings.

He holds 39th place in the current Ryder Cup table and missed the cut at Augusta.

James said Faldo would have to improve his position by at least 19 places if he was to have any chance of playing his 12th consecutive Ryder Cup.

"I can't see myself giving a wild card to anyone not in the top 20 by the time the team is chosen. And if I have enough experience in the side then I expect to stay within the top 13 or 14," James said.

James again insisted he would not consider himself for Ryder Cup selection, even if he made the top 10.

The 45-year-old captain was edged out only at the death in the last European tour event, the Madeira Island Open, by Spain's Pedro Linhart.

Despite playing no golf during a two-week break, when he took a skiing holiday, James starts as one of the favourites at Penha Longa this week.

Linhart plays, while European rankings leader David Howell, third in Madeira, attempts to retain his lead in the European order of merit.

 

TRW