Whether or not the European Tour’s decision to change up its Ryder Cup qualification and Tour membership processes is a knee-jerk reaction to its team’s 17-11 loss to the Americans at Hazeltine in October, the top leaders are fully on board.
The Wednesday announcement was made to ensure that the strongest European players, regardless of where they play most of their golf, are not left off of future teams. GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray had the details.
Players hoping to make Thomas Bjorn’s squad will be required to play at least four official Euro Tour events in 2018, outside of the majors and WGCs. That is one fewer than the requirement for last year’s matches, when the circuit notably pulled its sanction of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and counted the Open de France as a double event.
“The change to our minimum tournament requirement will help many of our members who play around the world but who, at the same time, wish to remain loyal to the European Tour,” said European Tour CEO Keith Pelley. “It will enable them to remain in membership in what are extremely exciting times for the European Tour with the advent of the Rolex Series, one of the most important and significant developments in our 44-year history.”
Changes to European Ryder Cup selection process: Extra captain’s pick, fewer required Euro Tour starts and more: https://t.co/6NkzqXXWRK
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 18, 2017
The tour did not, however, waive the membership requirement that cost England’s Paul Casey a spot on the squad at Hazeltine. They even went a step further, noting that any player who rescinds European Tour membership or fails to make the required number of starts in any season from 2018 on will not be allowed to be a future captain or vice captain.
Bjorn will also now have an extra pick at his disposal, as the number of captain’s selections has been raised from three to four. This is equal to the selections U.S. captain Davis Love III had last year, and it means the team will be comprised of three equal silos: four players from the European Points list, four players from the World Points list and four captain’s picks.
While qualification points will be up for grabs beginning this September, the tour is also increasing the amount of points available down the stretch in order to send the most in-form squad possible. Beginning with the BMW PGA Championship in May 2018, each qualifying event will count as 1.5 points through the end of qualification.