Thursday, October 15, 2009

VILAMOURA, Portugal (AP) — Thomas Bjorn is set to step down as chairman of the European Tour's players committee when it meets Thursday to discuss tougher restrictions on membership rules.

Bjorn has seen his world ranking slip to 210th since taking over leadership of the committee in 2007, and said Wednesday the administrative duties have hurt his game.

``To be fair to my golf and myself, I have too much to deal with as chairman and it takes away my concentration with what I want to do on the golf course,'' Bjorn said.

The committee will meet at the start of the Portugal Masters to discuss ways of forcing players to compete in more European events instead of in the United States.

That plan has raised objections from some leading players, including three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, who thinks European golfers should be free to decide their own schedule.

The European Tour, however, is worried about losing more sponsors if the top local players aren't competing enough on the continent.

The players committee will discuss nominating six core tournaments in Europe for 2010, such as the French and Irish Opens, with the requirement that members play in at least four of them to qualify for the Race to Dubai next year.

``Europe is at the heart of this tour and we have to support our sponsors with our best players,'' Bjorn said.

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