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Donald & McIlroy call for Ryder Cup tweak

ESPN staff
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Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy have put on a united front © Getty Images
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Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy have called upon the European Tour to make the Ryder Cup a qualifying event towards tour eligibility.

Top professionals are required to appear in at least 13 European Tour events a year to maintain their membership of the tour, something that causes headaches for the likes of Donald, McIlroy and Medinah hero Ian Poulter - who play an international schedule that often includes numerous PGA Tour events.

The American tour, however, does count the Ryder Cup as an appearance towards the 15 yearly events it demands of members - along with the World Golf Championship and major tournaments that count towards both tours - and Donald feels it is only fair the European Tour adopt the same policy.

The Ryder Cup is a significant revenue source for the European Tour - but players on either team are not paid for their participation.

"It's one of the busiest weeks we play all year, hence we'd like to get the European Tour to count it as a counting event," Donald said. "We actually do quite a lot of work that week."

He added: "We all know what a big revenue maker it is for the European Tour. It's a privilege to play Ryder Cup, but it's still a week's worth of sacrifice. I think at the very least it should count as an event.

"I don't see why it should on one tour and not the other. I'll raise the question. Hopefully they'll change it. We'll see. I definitely have the backing of some of the other guys that play out here."

The European Tour has long been keen to ensure top stars play as many events as possible, however, despite the most lucrative events generally taking place on the other side of the Atlantic. Indeed, European Ryder Cup qualification is arranged in such a way that European Tour loyalists have a slightly greater chance of making the team for the biennial event.

The Tour may be forced to re-consider their policy, however, especially after McIlroy agreed with Donald's complaints.

"Luke made a pretty convincing case," McIlroy added. "For guys playing a global schedule, the Ryder Cup should count toward one of those tournaments. Golf is the easy part in the Ryder Cup week. There's so much going on."

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