From Brian Keogh in Cologne
Paul McGinley has told the absentees from this week’s limited field Mercedes-Benz Championship to stop moaning and play better.
Ryder Cup star Andrew Coltart believes it is unfair to stage 78-man event so close to the end of the season when players are under pressure is on to retain their tour cards.
But McGinley, who only gets into this week’s event in Cologne as a past winner of the Volvo Masters, has no sympathy for the lesser lights.
He said: “All I can say is that everyone has got ample opportunities to make their card.There are 40 odd other events you can qualify to play.
“The sponsors wanted a small, elite field and to a large extent, they dictate. We are going to have Dunhill in a few weeks times, which is a $5 million event.
“Anybody with any kind of a card is going to get a spot in it. That is the way of the world. Professional sports is a tough business and nobody owes you a living.”
This week’s €2 million Mercedes-Benz Championship is limited to tournament winners since 2005 and the top 60 on the Order of Merit.
But there are also four sponsor’s invitations with struggling players such as Darren Clarke (131st on the Order of Merit) and Sven Struver(118th) joined by John Daly and Alex Cejka.
Coltart is ranked 167th and he’s worried that the cash earned by the likes of Clarke and Struver could cost him his tour card.
Colart said: “The analogy is like allowing Manchester United or Arsenal and Chelsea to count the points that they earn in the Champions League to have them count for the Premiership.”
McGinley is making his first appearance on tour since he finished 32nd in the US PGA in Tulsa a month ago.
And he’s determined to grab as many Ryder Cup points as he can and impress Seve Trophy skipper Nick Faldo before he announces his wildcards for the matches at the Heritage in two weeks’ time.
Ranked 75th on the Order of Merit, McGinley said: “I’d love to play in the Seve Trophy and I have told Nick I am available if he wants to pick me. My record is good but it is Faldo’s decision.
“My priorities for the rest of the year are to continue my improvement in form and turn them into results.
“There have been glimpses of some really good golf over the last few months without turning it into a big finish. I just have to continue that graph upwards.
“I am trying to salvage an Order of Merit position and make a good start to the Ryder Cup like anybody else.
“I have had three successful Ryder Cup campaigns so I know what they are all about. It is going to be tough again because the quality is so good again.
“But the bottom line is that everything is about playing well. If you play well, everything falls into place. Points on the board come when you play well and get on a roll.”
This is the final counting event for Seve Trophy qualification and Graeme McDowell can still make it automatically if he wins this week’s €320,000 top prize.
But his main goal is to rack up more Ryder Cup qualifying points after last week’s 11th place in Switzerland catapulted him to ninth on the European Points List.
McDowell said: “My focus is on the Ryder Cup and if the Seve Trophy gets in the way then fantastic but unless I do something pretty good this week, I am not expecting or thinking about playing Seve Trophy or getting a wildcard.”