Padraig Harrington springs Ryder Cup wildcard surprise

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington. Picture: Getty Images
European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington. Picture: Getty Images
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Captain Padraig Harrington has opted to reduce the European wildcards from four to three for next year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The change means that nine players will qualify automatically - five from the world points list and four from a European list.

“I have said on many occasions that one of the reasons for recent European success in

the Ryder Cup is continuity,” said Harrington.

“It is a theme that will be prevalent across my captaincy and I think you can see that in the overall qualification process for the 2020 team.

“Having said that, I am pleased that the Tournament Committee agreed to the change of wild card 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.”

The qualifying race for Harrington’s team will start at the 2019 BMW PGA Championship and end at the same event in September 2020.

“I am also delighted to be starting and ending the process at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth,” added Harrington, who was appointed as Thomas Bjorn’s successor earlier this year

“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.”

Available Race to Dubai points and World Ranking points will be multiplied by 1.5 towards the end of the qualification period, the tournament where this starts to be confirmed when the European Tour issues its 2020 schedule later this year.

Also similar to last year, qualification points in both 2019 and 2020 will not be available anywhere in the world from a tournament played opposite a Rolex Series event, further enhancing the status of the premier series of events on the European Tour.

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