PGA Alters Ryder Cup Criteria

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The PGA of America announced changes to its point system for selecting the United States Ryder Cup team on Thursday.
 
Major championships, tournament victories and top-10 performances in Ryder Cup years will give players more points towards earning one of the 10 automatic qualifying spots for the 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup team.
 
'The PGA of America's goal is to ensure the strongest possible team for the next edition of the Ryder Cup Matches at the K Club in Ireland,' said Roger Warren, president of the PGA of America. 'The new system rewards the game's hottest players as well as many players who have won events in the year of the matches.'
 
Under the new system, regular-season wins on the PGA Tour in a non-Ryder Cup year still earn a player 75 points. The big change comes in the major championships where a win now earns a player 450 points, up from 225 in the previous system. Points for finishing in the top 10 at a major also will be increased.
 
Then, a regular-season win in Ryder Cup years will now give a player 375 points, up from 150, while points for top-10 finishes will double. A win in one of the four majors during a Ryder Cup year will give a player 675 points, compared to just 300 under the old system.
 
Players can only earn points as a top-10 finisher in sanctioned events and the points for spots two through 10 have also been increased.
 
The top-10 players on the points list will earn automatic spots onto the 2006 Unites States Ryder Cup squad, captained by Tom Lehman.
 
Lehman will select the final two players to complete the team that will compete against the European team at The K Club in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland from September 22-24, 2006. The European team won the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in 2004, 18 1/2-9 1/2, the largest margin of victory ever for the Europeans.
 
Points earned after the 2004 PGA Championship will remain in place, while the new system will go into effect at the season-opening Mercedes Championship, Jan. 6-9, 2005. Players will be able to earn points through to the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club.