News From Terre Haute, Indiana

On & Off the Course

September 13, 2008

ON AND OFF THE COURSE: Ryder Cup selection process changed

TERRE HAUTE — When Paul Azinger called Steve Stricker to tell him that he had been selected as one of his captain picks for the Ryder Cup, Steve had to ask right away whether he was receiving a good call or a bad call. He had been on the other end of those calls too many times, so he needed to know. He was obviously very excited when Captain Azinger revealed that it was a good call. Stricker, at age 41, is the oldest of the captain’s selections, and it is his first time to make a Ryder Cup team.

The other captain’s picks are Chad Campbell, 34, and Hunter Mahan and J.B. Holmes who are both 26 years old. Prior to November 2006, when the PGA of America granted a request by Azinger to allow him four picks, the captain of the American team had only gotten two captain’s picks. Besides allowing the captain four picks, PGA of America has adjusted the way Ryder Cup points are earned.

In prior years Ryder Cup points were accumulated equally in the two years between Ryder Cups, which could allow for a player to make the team if they had a stellar first year, and fell off the map in the second. The new method skews more points toward the second year. In 2007, points were only earned in major championships, with one point given for every $1,000 earned.

In 2008, points were given for money earned in official events through Aug. 11 with one point for each $1,000 won. Also in 2008, two points were given for every $1,000 earned in the four major championships. Hopefully these changes, along with having four captain’s picks, will allow Azinger to field a team that is going to be able to contend with the European side, because his team will be made up of men who are playing well in the current year.

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