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European Tour abandons changes to membership

European Tour membership for 2010 will remain the same after it was decided to shelve a points system for next year aimed at six key events, the European Tour’s director of operations said on Wednesday.

“We’ve spoken to our sponsors to say we felt it was the wrong time to introduce something like this. You could say it has been shelved for the moment,” David Garland told reporters at the Dubai World Championship.

Qualification therefore remains a mandatory 12 events, two of which have to be played in Europe.

A new system, devised last month but not ratified, entailed a points table for each European event played.

To encourage participation in top events, players would have got extra points at the Irish Open, Europe’s PGA Championship, French Open, Scottish Open, Dunhill Links Championship and Portugal Masters to make membership qualification easier.

The move was designed to halt the exodus of players to America and appease European sponsors dismayed at a shortage of top class fields in their events.

But the tour, which had promised a decision on any new system before the start of the 2010 season next month, has decided now is not the time for change.

Although the decision has been accepted by the tournament committee, its chairman Thomas Bjorn, who will resign formally in 2010, will discuss it further with tour officials.

The 38-year-old Dane had said he would not even serve on the committee if the radical membership plans he had guided did not take place and may stick to his word.

“Thomas says he will accept and abide by any decision made by the tour,” Bjorn’s manager Guy Kinnings told Reuters. “Over his place on the committee, he will talk further about that to the tour.”


November 19, 2009

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