Euro Tour announces drastic changes for 2018 Ryder Cup
Though the European team has enjoyed a dominant run at the Ryder Cup, an embarrassing showing at Hazeltine last fall has forced the squad to evaluate its current surroundings. Mainly, regarding the team's selection process, with calls from stars like Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, as well as legend Tony Jacklin, to revamp the system. It appears their petitions have been heard.
On Wednesday, the European Tour Tournament Committee announced three alterations for the 2018 Ryder Cup team, the most significant being an extra captain's pick. Players will be required to play at least four official Euro Tour events for consideration -- one less than years past -- and extra team points will be given down the Ryder Cup home stretch, trying to ensure a roster that's "in form."
“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," stated 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.”
However, the European Tour did not waive its membership requirement. This stipulation kept top 20 player Paul Casey off the team, and hindered Russell Knox's chances for a spot.
“In my role as chairman of the tournament committee for the past ten years and now as Ryder Cup captain, I fully appreciate the need to balance both of these essential elements, and I think we have managed to do that," said captain Thomas Bjorn. “Part of the reason for my appointment last month was to, as soon as possible, begin the process required to regain the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in 2018, and these changes are the first step on that journey. Hopefully they will help me have the 12 best European players available in 20 months’ time.”