Current regulations require players to be European Tour members in order to be eligible to represent the continent in the biennial matches. It meant that the squad at Hazeltine did not include Paul Casey, who rescinded his European Tour membership this year to focus solely on the PGA Tour but had played his way up to No. 13 in the world following the Tour Championship.
A similar rule kept Russell Knox from making his first Ryder Cup team, as the Scot was not a European Tour member when he won the WGC-HSBC Champions last fall. He was not retroactively awarded points for the win even though he subsequently took up membership, and it proved to be the difference in Knox qualifying for the team automatically instead of Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Speaking on a recent podcast with No Laying Up, McIlroy shared his view of how the teams should be constructed in the wake of Europe's 17-11 defeat.
"Honestly, it should be the best 12 players from Europe versus the best 12 players from the United States. For me, there shouldn't be anything to do with membership of tours," McIlroy said. "To have a guy like Paul Casey not on our team when he is playing some of the best golf in the world right now, it definitely hurt us."
McIlroy's views were not solely focused on the European situation, as he said the American decision to leave world No. 7 Bubba Watson off the team made him feel "a little uneasy." The Ulsterman even championed a system that would simplify the process further by just taking the top 12 players from each team based on the world rankings.
"I know that isn't as exciting in terms of captain's picks and qualifying process and everything else, but if we're trying to make it the fairest way for the best 12 to make each team, I think that's the way to go," he said.