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Ryder Cup captaincy decision delayed

The announcement of the European Ryder Cup captain for the 2004 matches against the United States will be made no earlier than May 22 next year, the European Ryder Cup board announced.

The reason for the delay is that the new board needs to clarify its constitution while the selection process of the European team to take on the U.S. at Oakland Hills in Michigan from September 26 to 28, 2004 is expected to be modified.

Either Ian Woosnam or Bernhard Langer, both seasoned Ryder Cup performers, is expected to get the job.

"The time scale has been set in order that the constitution of the new Ryder Cup board can be determined prior to the meetings between the PGA European Tour board of directors, the tournament committee and the Ryder Cup board, which will take place during the week of the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club on May 22-25," Mitchell Platts, Ryder Cup board spokesman, said in a statement.

"There are a number of important issues to be confirmed, including the selection process for the 2004 European Team that will, in part, be based on a variation of the official world golf ranking system, and all matters will continue to be discussed through to the meetings in May."

Hal Sutton, a veteran of four Ryder Cups including this year's showdown at The Belfry, was named as U.S. captain for 2004 almost two months ago.

Sam Torrance, who led Europe to a dramatic victory over the United States in the 34th Ryder Cup in September, said on Thursday that changes to the qualification system for the 2004 matches would be to Europe's advantage.

"I had to leave out Jose Maria Olazabal to pick the world number five, Sergio Garcia (for this year's Ryder Cup)," said the Scot.

"That can't be right. With so many now playing in America, you really need more from the world rankings."

This year's European Ryder Cup team comprised the top 10 in the order of merit and two wild-card choices.

But the European Ryder Cup board is reported to be considering allowing five players from the world rankings, five from the order of merit and two wild cards.

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