European Tour announce big changes to membership regulations

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The European Tour has announced a significant change to its membership regulations for the 2016 season, with players now only required to compete in a minimum of five European Tour sanctioned tournaments outside the Major Championships and World Golf Championships. Since the 2011 season, all European Tour members have been required to undertake a minimum requirement of 13 European Tour events in order to be included in the final Race to Dubai rankings and be eligible for selection in the Ryder Cup. Amending the regulation to simply five European Tour events outside the Majors and the WGCs is designed to help players plan their schedules more effectively, without being subject to the uncertainty of their exempt status into these tournaments. The news will be welcomed by players such as England's world No24 Paul Casey who confirmed earlier this year that he had decided against joining the European Tour for family reasons, instead concentrating his efforts on the PGA Tour. Scotsman Russell Knox, the recent winner of the WGC-HSBC Champion in Shanghai and now world No29, is another who has snubbed the European Tour in favour of playing his golf in America. Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: "The change to our minimum tournament requirement for the 2016 season recognises that many of our members are global players, who, at the same time, wish to remain loyal to the European Tour. Meanwhile, a revamped three-tournament Final Series was also unveiled which means from 2016 the WGC-HSBC Champions will no longer be included. The move means that the Final Series will begin with the $7m Turkish Airlines Open (Nov 3-6), $7m Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, South Africa (Nov 10-13) before The Race to Dubai concludes with the $8m DP World Tour Championship in Dubai (Nov 17-20).

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