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European Ryder Cup Captain Opts for More Wild Card Selections
European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley will have three wild card selections to complete his team for the 2014 Ryder Cup. This is an increase from the two picks his predecessor, José Maria Olazábal, had before Medinah last September.
It will bring McGinley in line with his 2014 American counterpart, Tom Watson, who in March announced he was reducing his number of picks from four to three for the contest at Gleneagles in Scotland in September 2014.
That leaves nine automatic places up for grabs on McGinley's team, with the first four coming from the Ryder Cup European Points List, while the remaining five will earn spots off the Ryder Cup World Points List.
The Ryder Cup European Points List involves points gained by a member from all Race to Dubai tournaments during the qualification process, with one point equaling one euro. The Ryder Cup World Points List will comprise Official World Golf Ranking points gained in officially sanctioned tournaments worldwide during the qualification process.
The qualification system will begin at the ISPS Handa Wales Open on the European Tour at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales from September 5-8, 2013.
The list order is the same as before for the qualification race for the 2012 Ryder Cup, but is different than the four previous events since the two list system was initiated prior to the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills. In 2006, 2008 and 2010, the Ryder Cup World Points List was counted first.
"I have said on a number of occasions that if something ain't broke then don't fix it, and I think that applies to the qualification process for the European Ryder Cup team," said McGinley, whose proposed selection criteria received unanimous backing from the European Tour's Tournament Committee during a meeting at Wentworth Club earlier this week.
"You only need to look at the record books to see that we haven't done too badly of late so I didn't see the need to make sweeping changes. I've kept the qualification list order the same as 'Ollie' had it for Medinah, the only difference being that I've increased the number of picks from two to three.
"I've done that to give myself a little bit of extra flexibility when it comes to making my selections. Hopefully this will ensure that I have the right players to face the examination paper that Gleneagles will set out next September."
McGinley's decision means that, in the 18 Ryder Cups played between 1979 (when players from continental Europe joined the fold for the first time) and 2014, the European Captain will have selected three wild cards on seven occasions (1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 2010 and 2014) and two wild cards on 10 occasions (1979, 1981, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2012).
The only departure from this came in 1983, when all 12 European team members were taken directly off the Official Money List.
The above report is courtesy of the European Tour. For more information, visit www.europeantour.com.