Donald warns European Tour

Fri, 15 Oct 18:50:00 2010

The European Tour could come to regret continuing to raise its mandatory membership requirement, according to Britain's world number eight Luke Donald.

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The tour announced on Wednesday that for 2011 it will increase the amount of events players have to play to qualify for membership from 12 to 13, the second increase in two years.

Donald has had a successful year on both sides of the Atlantic, finishing third in the US Tour's FedEx Cup and currently lying 15th on the European Tour's Race to Dubai (order of merit).

While the Englishman, joint top points scorer in the Ryder Cup, said he did not envisage an extra tournament being a problem personally he could see fellow Europeans playing in the United States struggling to commit to 13 events.

This is despite the world's leading players being able to chalk off eight of their mandatory events by playing four majors and four WGC events.

"Every time they add a tournament it makes it a little bit more difficult," Donald said. "It might end up backfiring on the European Tour if they try and push people to play too many European events. They might just say 'oh forget it'.

"By the end of this season I'll have played 14 counting events, but it does become difficult to spread yourself evenly between two tours - to gain any momentum on one tour or the other.

"I will again try my best to support both tours next year, 13 is possible for me, but by this increase, it becomes harder.

"I can understand that it's to try to get the world's top players to play in Europe but Europeans are as strong as they've ever been and a lot of the top guys want to play in America as well. They shouldn't be penalised.

"They want to become better players. Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, I think, are joining the US PGA Tour. They want to take the opportunity of playing against the best players in the world.

"Part of the reason why Europe is so strong is that our players are playing all around the world, including America.

That's the way to get better, play against the best players in the world."

Increasing the mandatory amount of events may have a Ryder Cup spin-off, too, if Europeans players, such as Paul Casey who was not selected for the Celtic Manor event, decide to dedicate themselves almost solely to the US Tour, Donald said.

"If you are not careful you might run into another situation like this year - where world top 10 players are left out of the Ryder Cup," he added.


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