BELEK, Turkey (Reuters) - Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari joined the debate over the controversial Final Series rules on Sunday by saying no one in the top-60 of the money list should be denied a place in the season-ending event in Dubai.
The 31-year-old Italian also wants the 20 percent bonus pool money that is awarded to players who compete in all four Final Series events to be scrapped.
The European Tour’s new FedExCup-style competition has been golf’s hot topic in the last week and a half with leading players like Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel complaining the regulations are unfair.
“It’s not easy to get it right first time, we saw that in America too when the FedExCup started,” Molinari told Reuters in an interview during the final round of the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open.
”All four tournaments have good potential, it’s a lot of money especially for the European Tour so it’s just a matter of making the rules slightly better.
“I don’t think anyone should be forbidden from playing at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai even if they don’t want to play in the first three events of the Final Series,” said Molinari after a closing 67 gave him a share of 25th spot in Turkey.
“I don’t think there’s any need to say you have to play in two out of the three events before Dubai to be eligible for Dubai. If you are in the top 60 in the money list...nobody should tell you that you can’t play.”
South African Els, a member of the tour for almost two decades, has described the system as “farcical” while Schwartzel said this week he was thinking about his future on the circuit.
Molinari, who played in the triumphant Ryder Cup sides of 2010 and 2012, said the bonus pool awarded to those who participate in both Shanghai events and the Turkish Open that precede Dubai was a waste of time.
“They brought in the bonus to try to get all the top players in all the Final Series tournaments but it’s obvious to everyone that it didn’t work,” added the Italian.
”I think we just need to stress that and not have any sort of bonus. It’s silly ... and not really fair for the players.
“I think what would probably make the difference is to increase the bonus pool for the leading 10 in the money-list to get the top players to play in the last few events,” said Molinari.
“If you can make more money from your position in the overall money-list I‘m sure the top guys will be more involved in these last few tournaments.”
Molinari said there was too much golf on the calendar right now and something had to give for the elite of Europe who try to divide their time equally between their own tour and the U.S. PGA circuit.
“There are too many tournaments and each player decides when and where he will play but nobody plays all of them,” he explained.
“I think we should be doing our best to keep the best European players competing in Europe, if not for all the tournaments then at least a few of them.”
Molinari has been consistency personified this season, chalking up a string of top-20 finishes without managing to add to his tally of three European victories.
“I wasn’t really playing my best in the first half of the season but now I feel a lot closer,” said the Italian who occupies 14th position in the money list.
“It’s just a matter of getting the breaks at the right time, trying hard on the course and making the most of my chances.”
Editing by Tony Goodson