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Camilo Villegas may join European Tour in 2009

Camilo Villegas, one of the U.S. PGA Tour’s most exciting young prospects, said on Wednesday he was considering playing the minimum 12 events to qualify as a 2009 European Tour player.

The 26-year-old Colombian, this week playing in the Castello Masters in Spain, told Reuters that the European Tour would provide “a good option” as he seeks to become a more global performer.

“Yes, it’s crossed my mind,” he said. “I like playing around the world and Europe seems a good spot. I am going to be playing a little bit more overseas so we’ll see what happens.”

After winning twice on the PGA Tour during the Fedex Cup, in which he finished second behind Vijay Singh, Villegas has climbed to number seven in the world and would only need to play five extra European Tour events, one of them in Europe, to fulfil his mandatory 12 tournaments to become a member.

“I can count on seven from the majors and the world golf events, so I could do it. I’ve always wanted to be a world player and playing both tours might be a good option so we’ll see how the schedule all works and how we can handle everything,” he said.

Villegas admitted the European Tour’s richest season, the ‘Race to Dubai’, has provided not only a lure for him but several U.S. Tour players.

World number two Phil Mickelson and world number three Singh are also considering playing both tours next season.

“That’s (the Race to Dubai) going to catch a lot players’ attention and it will be nice to see some of the U.S. guys come across the pond,” added Villegas.

One of his five regular 2009 European Tour commitments might well be this week’s event again. Villegas is enjoying his first taste of Spain as house guest of Castello Masters promoter Sergio Garcia, the player he beat in the U.S. Tour Championship and also finished a place above in the Fedex Cup.

There will be no quarter given by Villegas or Garcia.

“Let me tell you, when he (Garcia) stands on that first tee he’s going to do everything he can to beat every guy in the field and when I step on the first tee I’m trying to do the same,” said Villegas.

“Every player is trying to win the tournament. It doesn’t matter how good friends you are.”


October 23, 2008

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