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Ryder Cup Captains picks will be limited

Any change to Europe’s Ryder Cup qualification system would allow only four wildcard picks at most, European Tour tournament committee chairman Thomas Bjorn told Reuters on Wednesday.

European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has hinted he will request a change and push for more say over wildcards for his team who play the U.S. at Celtic Manor, Wales, next year.

“It will never be more than four picks, that’s for sure,” Denmark’s Bjorn said.

“Monty will put his case forward and we’ll take it from there. What will be, will be. And everyone will go away accepting it and be happy about it.”

Since 1995, Europe’s team has been made up of 10 qualifiers and two wildcards.

Montgomerie had said in the past he would even like all 12 players to be chosen if ever he were made captain and has often spoken about six qualifiers and six wildcards.

The Briton will make his thinking known next Tuesday before the Irish Open, when the European Tour players committee meets.

While the decision will be made by the committee, Bjorn sees benefits either way.

“I believe, just because we lose one (Ryder Cup), there’s no need to panic. The two matches prior to that we did very well with the system we have at the moment,” the 38-year-old said on the eve of the Italian Open.

“But I also see where Monty’s coming from. There’s an argument for both. It’s a hard one to call. He’ll get all the time he wants to put his case forward and we’ll do our best to accommodate him.

“But as much as it’s the captain that runs the Ryder Cup team it’s all about the 12 players who will want to qualify for it.

“I also know that Monty will accept the decision that’s made even if he might want it differently,” he added.

A third place in last week’s Spanish Open, his best result for two years, has given Bjorn encouragement he could make a bid for a team place for next year’s match against the U.S.

However, the man who has featured in the winning side in both Ryder Cups he has played, was being cautious.

“I’m not going to get ahead of myself,” said Bjorn. “I’ve had a real struggle with my golf for a while. One good result does not bring your game back just like that.”

The nine times European Tour winner believed he could still make a bid for the team even if he were made an assistant to Montgomerie, as many pundits are advocating.

“It’s all about the week in question. So I think you can easily concentrate on trying to make the team as well, if you’ve been chosen (as an assistant).

“I certainly got the bit between my teeth last week and that’s what I’d focus on if I was chosen.”

May 7, 2009

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