Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Rose and Els propose a tour change

At least two of those tournaments have to be played in Europe - although one can be the Open Championship - with the changes coming after reports that world number two Phil Mickelson was among a number of US Tour-based players thinking of joining the European circuit.

Double Open champion Padraig Harrington, who has not played a continental event so far this season, was in favour of leaving the membership criteria unchanged, but Rose said: "I still think it's something that should be easily attainable for somebody playing a worldwide schedule."

He added: "It's not a drastic change. If you are looking at enticing some players who are currently not European Tour members to join the tour it might be the difference, but for myself, I am very comfortable making it 12 next year.

"The 12th event will be that season-ending event so I guess that's the only event they are really asking you to add, so not too big a deal."

The Tour launches its new-look 'Race for Dubai' in just over a month, culminating in the world's richest event in Dubai next November.

That tournament, the Dubai World Championship, is open only to the leading 60 players on the Order of Merit, and as things stood, Mickelson and the others could have become eligible without setting foot in Europe.

Els also backed the move and hinted that the current financial crisis could have an impact on the golfing calendar next year, particularly in the United States.

"I've always supported both tours and I think to raise it to 12 is really not all that much to ask for players to do," said the world number eight.

"I think the European Tour is doing a wonderful job, especially in this financial crisis. Obviously with the US economy there's some big questions there, who knows what's going to happen with the tour there."

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