It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
Nine automatic qualifiers announced for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The nine golfers who automatically qualify for this year’s Ryder Cup event at Hazeltine has been confirmed, with Captain Darren Clarke talking his team’s “fantastic blend of youth and experience.”
After Matt Fitzpatrick earned a debut place on the Ryder Cup team by finishing fifth in the D+D REAL Czech Masters, the final nine automatic qualifiers were concluded.
Europe will be hoping all their players are up for the task of overhauling a very able US Team to bring the trophy home for the fourth successive time. However, with five rookies on the team, things are perfectly poised for an incredible tussle between two fiery sets of rivals.
In the team, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, Danny Willett and Chris Wood will all be making their debuts. Rory McIlroy, Willett, Henrik Stenson and Wood gained qualification as the current top four players on the Ryder Cup European Points List with Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Cabrera Bello, Sullivan and Fitzpatrick all coming through the Ryder Cup World Points List.
European Captain Clarke will name his three wild cards to complete the 12-man team on Tuesday 30 August.
“I am absolutely delighted with the nine players who have qualified for The 2016 European Ryder Cup team. They offer not only a fantastic blend of youth and experience but also, already, some exciting partnership possibilities,” said Clarke.
“In the experienced corner we have the two men who have lit up the world of golf in recent weeks – Open champion Henrik Stenson and Olympic champion Justin Rose – joined by Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy who, aside from being two of the most dynamic Ryder Cup performers of recent years, are also winners this year in their own right: Sergio in the US and Rory in Europe.
“In the rookies’ corner, it is very rare you begin any such list with the reigning Masters champion but we are fortunate to do just that with Danny Willett, while Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood bring a mixture of consistency and success that any Ryder Cup captain looks for over the course of a qualification campaign.
“Now no-one else can force their way into the nine automatic spots, I am delighted to have two tournaments this week – the Made in Denmark tournament in Europe and The Barclays tournament in the US – to assess the form of potential players to fill the three Wild Card spots.”