Harrington cuts Ryder Cup wild card picks to three

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European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has cut the number of wild card picks from four to three for the 2020 match against America at Whistling Straits.
Picture by GETTY IMAGES

EUROPEAN Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has opted to reduce his number of wild cards from four to three when his team defends the trophy at Whistling Straits in 2020.

The European Tour has confirmed the qualification period for Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup team will start at the 2019 BMW PGA Championship – the fourth Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai – and conclude at the same event in September 2020.

The Tour’s tournament committee met on Tuesday night, where they ratified captain Padraig Harrington’s wish list which included the one significant change from the 2018 qualification process, namely the reduction in the number of wild cards from four to three.

The 12-man European team will comprise the first four players from the European Points List, followed by the leading five players from the World Points List, leaving Harrington with three names to complete the line-up, a decision which will be unveiled in the week after the final counting event.

Harrington said: “I have said on many occasions that one of the reasons for recent European success in The Ryder Cup is continuity. It is a theme that will be prevalent across my captaincy and I think you can see that in the overall qualification process for the 2020 team.

“Having said that, I am pleased that the Tournament Committee agreed to the change of wild card numbers. I have spoken to a number of people regarding the ninth player automatically qualifying for the team and in my experience, a player is more comfortable when he has qualified, hence my reasoning behind this change.

“I am also delighted to be starting and ending the process at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. It is one of our most prestigious events, played at an iconic venue and the home of the European Tour itself, and will help give a real narrative to the qualification race.”

Available Race to Dubai points and World Ranking points will be multiplied by one-and-a-half towards the end of the qualification period, the tournament where this starts to be confirmed when the European Tour issues its 2020 schedule later this year.

Also similar to last year, qualification points in both 2019 and 2020 will not be available anywhere in the world from a tournament played opposite a Rolex Series event, further enhancing the status of the premier series of events on the European Tour.

European Ryder Cup director Guy Kinnings said: “It is fitting that we start and end Team Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup qualification journey at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship, which as well as being one of our core Rolex Series events, celebrates its 65th anniversary edition in September this year.

“As official partners, both BMW and Rolex have played a very significant role in the global success and growth of the Ryder Cup, and we all look forward to watching Europe’s best golfers in the world battle it out for their place in the 2020 team.”

The 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup will be played on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, in Wisconsin, from September 25-27, in 2020. Germany’s Martin Kaymer won the USPGA championship there in 2010.

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