By Phil Rice
Following their defeat at the hands of the US team last year, the European Tour have announced a revised criteria for qualification for the next Ryder Cup in France in 2018.
European captain Thomas Bjorn will have one extra wildcard pick for his team in 2018 after the revamp. It means the Dane will now have four wildcard picks instead of the usual three and the changes also give equal weighting to both the European and World points list, with four players from each selected.
Players will only be required to compete in a minimum of four European Tour sanctioned tournaments outside the Majors and World Golf Championships. The change, ratified by the Tour’s Tournament Committee in Abu Dhabi last week, continues to recognise the global nature of the European Tour, acknowledged for the 2016 season, when the number was reduced to five tournaments outside the Majors and WGC events.
There will be a greater weighting for points earned in tournaments in the latter stages of the process to help ensure the European Team reflects those players in form nearer the time of the Ryder Cup itself.
Following the introduction of the Rolex Series, no Ryder Cup qualification points will be available from tournaments staged anywhere in the world played in the same week as these events in both 2017 and 2018.
The 2017 Rolex Series will begin in May with the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in England and will be followed by two tournaments in July: the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Portstewart; and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald.
The fourth tournament of the Rolex Series next year will be the Italian Open at the Olgiata Golf Club in Rome in October while the final three Rolex Series events will be in November, comprised of the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort; the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City in South Africa; and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates.