Jan 19th, 2017
All change for Ryder Cup rules
As Thomas Bjorn gets four wildcard picks
Words: John Dean Photography: Getty Images
The European Tour has announced a change to its membership regulations for the 2018 season, with players only required to compete in a minimum of four European Tour sanctioned tournaments outside the Major Championships and World Golf Championships next season.
The change is primarily designed to help players plan their schedules more effectively as the European Tour continues to grow.
Keith Pelley, the European Tour's CEO, said: “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.
“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.”
The Tournament Committee also approved three important changes to the qualification process for Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup team.
Firstly, 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.
Race to Dubai points and World Ranking points earned in these tournaments will be multiplied by 1.5 for the two respective qualification lists with the first counting event to benefit from this increased weighting in the 2018 season being the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
With the 2018 schedule not as yet finalised, the last counting event in the quest to make Thomas Bjørn’s team for Le Golf National in Paris in September 2018 is not confirmed, but the starting point will be the D+D Real Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague from August 31 – September 3, 2017.
No Ryder Cup qualification points will be available from tournaments staged opposite Rolex Series tournaments in both 2017 and 2018. This is designed to put pressure on US–based players to come back and play to boost their chances of qualifying.
Qualification for 2018 team is to change to four players from the Ryder Cup European Points List, four from the Ryder Cup World Points List and FOUR wildcard picks for captain Bjorn.
Thomas Bjorn has clearly got his way, and will now have the opportunity to have that potentially all–important extra wild card at his disposal. And with the minium compulsory European Tour events lowered to four from five, there is further incentive for European Players who ply their trade mostly on the PGA Tour to qualify for the Ryder Cup.
There's still some protectionism in there, so the question remains whether or not a player like Paul Casey can still get in, wildcard pick or no.....?