Padraig Harrington has always been a tinkerer, and the Irishman’s been true to form with his first major Ryder Cup captaincy decision to reduce the number of Team Europe wildcards to three.
An extra qualifier to play at Whistling Straits in 2020 will come off the list of leading players in the world rankings points list, taking the number from that qualification category to five. A further four will come from the European Tour rankings list, with Harrington picking the rest of the 12-strong team.
The qualification race to make the team will begin at the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, in its new place in the schedule of September later this year, and it will end at the same venue in 2020.
“I have said on many occasions that one of the reasons for recent European success in The Ryder Cup is continuity and I think you can see that in the overall qualification process for the 2020 team,” said Harrington.
“Having said that, I am pleased that the Tournament Committee agreed to the change in wildcard 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.”
Thomas Bjorn had four wildcards for Paris last year, and reaped a handsome nine and a half of the winning 17½ points total from the quartet of Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson. Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley had three at Hazeltine (2016) and Gleneagles (2014) respectively while Jose Maria Olazabal used just two at Medinah in 2012.
Harrington also endorsed the decision to start and end qualifying 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,” he said.
As in 2018, available Race to Dubai points and World Ranking points will be multiplied by 1.5 towards the end of the qualification period. In addition, points in both 2019 and 2020 will not be available anywhere in the world from any tournament played opposite one of the Tour’s premier Rolex Series events.
The 43rd edition of The Ryder Cup will be played on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from September 25-27, 2020.