Padraig Harrington

Comments Padraig Harrington made about the European Tour's plans to change some of its membership rules have caused a furor among the European Tour players' committee.

Chairman of the European Tour players' committee, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, had suggested that high profile players should further commit to the tour and hinted at rule changes to enforce this.

When triple major-winning Irish golfer Harrington got wind of a possible rule change he was quoted in numerous outlets as follows:

"I don't believe in protectionism - I wonder if there may be a case for the European Union."

Bjorn was less than impressed on hearing this and said, "I don't know where Padraig is coming from and he always uses the press.

"He never comes to people on the committee and never will do. It's his committee - he does not seem to understand that. He seems to think that he is above it.

"We have discussions, he gets word of it and then he uses the press to slam the Tour," Bjorn told AP at the Dunhill Links Championship.

"Pretty much everything we do is to protect our leading players, but as chairman I have to look at every member as an equal.

"I find it disappointing that he does not come to me and talk. Instead he goes to the press and then it becomes a public discussion.

"I don't want to have a war of words with him, but we are a committee of 15 and that includes people like Monty, Clarky, Stenson, Karlsson, Jimenez and McGinley.

"They have all been out here a long time, so whose opinion are we going to give more weight to? We love having Padraig here in Europe, but there's a lot of experience on that committee.

"He may have won three majors, but Monty has won eight Order of Merits and knows all there is to know about the Tour.

"We make decisions through discussions and we also take a lot of lead from our executive.

"Padraig would need to play only one more event here if this proposal goes through. That's not asking a lot and for him to threaten going to the European Union is out of order."