At last, after months of speculation as to how Team Europe’s qualification system for the 2023 Ryder Cup will be determined, it was revealed that Luke Donald will be afforded six captain’s picks to help assemble his squad for Rome.
The announcement signals a significant change from the previous edition of the Ryder Cup, where loser skipper Padraig Harrington was only given three captain’s picks in Whistling Straits.
Under the revived process, beginning at the BMW PGA Championship, Europe will see three players automatically qualify from the European Points list, and three players qualify from the World Points list.
By way of comparison, Team USA upped their captain’s picks from four to six in 2020, with Zach Johnson again afforded this luxury in 2023.
But unlike Europe’s dual-points list system, the six automatic qualifiers from Team USA will earn their spot through through a singular, more straightforward points system.
So what do we make of these changes? Are they fair? And do they give Donald the best chance at building a squad which can possibly compete with USA’s team of superstars? Alex Perry and George Cooper have their say…
‘It’s farcical that it can be different for each skipper’
I think the whole system needs an overhaul, writes Alex Perry. And, judging by his desire to pick half the team, so does Luke Donald.
Given that the DP World Tour is now, to all intents and purposes, a feeder league to the PGA Tour, how does having a European Points List make any sense?
The US team, without fail, have the 12 best Americans showing up every other year. Can the European team say the same?
So how would I change it? Well, I think the number of captain’s picks should be the same for both teams. It’s farcical that it can be different for each skipper.
Get rid of the ludicrous and mostly confusing points systems and just base it on world rankings. Or just have one points system that covers every eligible player.
Whichever way you do it, a pre-arranged number – whether it be the top six, eight, or 10 – qualify and the remainder is made up with wildcards.
‘The captain should be given full authority’
Question me all you want, writes George Cooper, but I’ve always believed the captain should be afforded the freedom to pick all 12 players.
While I acknowledge golf is a game not built on subjectivity, with the proof in the pudding as to how good a player is based on their scoring, I’d much rather see a system like we do in football, where the manager – or captain in this instance – is given full authority to pick who he truly believes offers the greatest chance at victory.
So with that being said, of course I am delighted to see Luke Donald’s captain’s picks at least upped to six, not without mentioning that this dual-European/World Points qualification system is, even to the most ardent golfing fans, ridiculously confusing.
If Team USA get six, Team Europe should get six. It rightly places more power in the hands of each captain, and makes things more interesting as we approach the selection window.
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