Thursday, December 02, 2004

PGA revamps Ryder Cup points

Doug Ferguson, who is likely the best golf beat reporter in the world at the moment (and a good guy as well), reports on the changes to the Ryder Cup qualifying system. Apparently it took a beating at Oakland Hills to help some PGA officials, who are clearly more concerned with the merchandising cash than the U.S. team, to decide the likes of Fred Funk shouldn't have been at the event.
However, you've got to wonder whether it will make any difference. After all, Mickelson and Woods will be on the team for the next decade and both sucked wind throughout most of their rounds in Michigan. Would Todd Hamilton have made a difference? I doubt it, but he certainly is a player with a lot of heart and fight, something sorely missing on the U.S. team.

Now the story....

PGA changes Ryder Cup qualifying to emphasize winning, final year
by Doug Ferguson, Associated Press

The PGA of America revamped its system Thursday for qualifying for the Ryder Cup team, giving additional points for winning and quadrupling the points awarded during the year the matches are played.

It was the first major change in the U.S. points system since 1993, when more emphasis was placed on the majors.

The PGA came under pressure to alter the way the U.S. team is selected after the Americans sustained their worst loss to Europe, 18 1/2 - 9 1/2, in September at Oakland Hills.

The U.S. team had only five 2004 winners out of 12 players. Among those who failed to qualify was Todd Hamilton, a 38-year-old rookie whose two victories included the British Open, where he went the final 40 holes against Ernie Els before beating him in a playoff.

Several players had complained that the system was not current and included too many players no longer at the peak of their games.

``The new system rewards the game's hottest players, as well as many players who have won events in the year of the matches,'' PGA president Roger Warren said.

The next Ryder Cup will be in 2006 at the K Club in Ireland.

PGA Tour victories at the end of 2004 and all of 2005 will be worth 75 points, with points awarded down to 10th place. That's how it was under the old system.

The big change comes in 2006, when PGA Tour victories are worth 375 points. Previously, regular tour victories during a Ryder Cup year were worth only 150 points. Points for PGA Tour events, from first place to 10th, will be worth four times as much during Ryder Cup years, with an extra 75 points for winning.

The biggest change is in the major championships.

A major victory in 2005 will be worth 450 points (up from 225), while 10th place will earn 25 points. Majors in 2006 will be worth 675 points (up from 300), with 10th place worth 40 points.

Chris Riley earned the last spot on the Ryder Cup team this year with 576.786 points.

Points will be earned through the 2006 PGA Championship. The top 10 players make the team, and captain Tom Lehman will pick two other players.

Europe changed its selection process for the 2004 matches, taking five top players from world ranking points, five from the European tour money list and two captain's picks. Unlike the United States, however, Europe's standings do not begin until one year before the Ryder Cup.

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