US Updates Its Ryder Cup Selection Process

At the behest of Captain Paul Azinger, the US Ryder Cup team selection process has apparently undergone a much-need revision.

The major change is that eight players win automatic berths on the 2008 team via a points-list based on money earned at PGA Tour events held earlier that season.
Double points will be on offer at the four majors, with single points available at the 2007 majors.

In addition, the number of Captain’s picks has been increased from two to four.

The presumed advantage of this system is that it will stock the US team with the players that are playing their best just prior to the Cup. Under the previous system it was possible for a player to play very well two years before the Cup and then cool off in the Cup year, but still have enough points to get on the team.

Kenny Perry is the poster child for the flaws in the old system. He won three times in 2003 and played poorly in 2004, yet had enough points to get on the team. He lost both of the matches in which he played at Oakland Hills.

“I think this is the best way,” Azinger said. “Money has always been the barometer. We are always rewarded based on our earnings. I really wanted a one-year system because I just felt like something a little more current was going to be the best way to ensure that we had the hottest and best American players on the team”

I like the idea—especially in doubling the number of Captain’s picks. In fact, I think that ALL of the picks should be Captain’s picks. No more of this automatic berth nonsense. And if I were Captain, Tiger would not be one of my picks. Nor would Mickelson. All of my picks would be young, hungry guys who play with passion and joy and exuberance. Who won’t scare their teammates. And who can jump more than six inches off the ground when they sink the winning putt at a major.

And I’d try to get Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby to become naturalized American citizens.

But all silliness aside, it’s about time something was done. I still have my doubts that it will make much of a difference, but it’s about the only thing that could be done.

Now we’ll see if Azinger can get the American players to focus.

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