Team Europe’s qualification for the Ryder Cup mimics Team USA’s strategy


Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Luke Donald during last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

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Early indications of what the 2023 Ryder Cup will look like began to emerge as Europe announced major changes to its qualifying process on Tuesday.

For the 2023 Cup, captain Luke Donald will make SIX captain’s picks, double what former captain Padraig Harrington was given in 2021. The European squad will offer six automatic qualifiers in addition to those six picks through his long-standing European and World points lists. .

The move to six captain’s picks was first made by Steve Stricker at the 2021 Cup for the United States, which was widely praised as it contributed to a record 19-9 victory for the Americans in Whistling Straits. The United States will keep the same system with the upcoming 2022 Presidents Cup, led by Davis Love III.

‚ÄúThese changes to the qualification process for Team Europe follow extensive analysis with the Ryder Cup Europe team and with Thomas [Bjorn] and Edward [Molinari]”, Donald said in a press release. “I am delighted that when we presented our thoughts to the tournament committee, they were 100% behind them.

The decision comes amid great consternation who will be involved with Europe, given the recent launch of LIV Golf. It was only last month that Henrik Stenson was Europe’s captain but lost his position in the team when he signed with the upstart league. Donald took the job just 12 days later, saying: “Some of my best golf experiences have been at the Ryder Cup and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

A major question follows whether LIV golfers will be able to qualify for the team. It can reasonably be expected that, at this time, the LIV Golfers will not win Donald’s captain’s pick. But can they still qualify on points? There is no announced stipulation barring them from this path to the team.

At next week’s BMW Championship, where Ryder Cup qualifying begins, there will be 18 LIV golfers on the course. If, say, Sergio Garcia wins this event, it will go a long way towards qualifying for the 2023 Ryder Cup. The same goes for the major championships in 2023, which will award the most points (6,000), followed by the Rolex Series events , which are played on the DP World Tour. But European Points will only be awarded to active DP World Tour members who maintain their membership, and World Points (distributed via World Golf Ranking) will not be awarded to events held in the same week as an event. Rolex Series. (In other words, LIV Golf’s event calendar would also want to be wary of the biggest events on the DP World Tour.)

But yes, on paper a high performing LIV golfer who is also a member of the DP World Tour, hails from Europe and plays well in Rolex Series events and major championships will apparently have a chance to qualify for the Ryder Cup team. There is no specific wording in Team Europe’s press release that prohibits LIV golfers from qualifying. That said, the competition for these spots has always been fierce, and now there are just fewer spots to go.

The top three players on the European points list in 2021 were Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, who each performed very well on the DP World Tour that summer. The top three on the world points list were Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Paul Casey. Since this World Points list is compiled via World Ranking Points, mostly dominated by PGA Tour events, which LIV golfers are suspended from, it is highly unlikely that any LIV golfer will qualify via the points list. global.

More clearly, for a LIV golfer to automatically qualify, they must be one of the top three European players in DP World Tour events and major championships. But many of them lack time. Their world golf ranking continues to deteriorate over time by not participating in a circuit that rewards them. The Masters Tournament grants lifetime exemptions to its former champions, many of whom are LIV golfers. But entry qualifications to the PGA Championship, US Open and British Open are not as favorable.

To continue the aforementioned example, could Sergio Garcia surpass Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and many more of the best European pros in the world in specific events that reward qualifying points, littered with a schedule that also includes double-digit LIV Golf Events? Sure, it’s possible, but rather unlikely.