System Revised for Selecting 2008 US Ryder Cup Team


LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A new Ryder Cup selection system, announced by the PGA of America on Monday, places a premium on finishes at golf's four majors and gives captain Paul Azinger an addition two picks for his team in 2008.
Drastically different from the old system, which awarded points for wins and top-10 finishes at official events over a two-year span, the new Ryder Cup point system is all about the money -- and who is playing best in 2008.
Gone is the two-year plan, in which a player could build up points in a non-Ryder Cup year and still make the team despite struggling during the year of the competition.
The only points to be awarded in 2007 will be at the four major championships -- the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Players who make the cut will receive one point for every $1,000 earned.
In 2008, the year of the next Ryder Cup, points will be awarded on a sliding scale.
Rendering a good finish at the majors even more important, players who make the cut will be awarded two points for every $1,000 earned at those four events.
In all other official 2008 events -- excluding the majors and events played opposite the majors and opposite the World Golf Championships -- one point will be awarded for every $1,000 won.
At tournaments played opposite the 2008 majors and WGC events -- when, historically, fields are watered down -- players will only receive 1/2 point for $1,000 of prize money.
Also, with players under the assumption that tournaments contested at the end of the 2006 season would count toward the 2008 Ryder Cup, changes were also made to the point value to include those events.
United States players who finished in the top 10 in official events from August 27 through November 5 of this year will be awarded 1/4 point for every $1,000 earned.
Azinger, given more responsibility than any captain before him, had a significant role in determining the new system.
'My eyes glaze over when I see $1,000 equals one point,' Azinger said at a Monday press conference. 'We're using a point system, but we're going off the money list, essentially.
'I just felt like it was time for money to be the barometer,' he added later.
The PGA of America said the new system, had it been in place for selecting the 2006 team, would have produced little change for a squad that was beaten badly by the Europeans for a second straight time.
'I don't think we saw significant changes when we looked at the top eight (players),' said PGA of America president Roger Warren. 'In the end, whatever team is out there has got to play better to win.'
To that end, Azinger, 46, asked to be given more control over who will be wearing U.S. colors at Valhalla in September 2008. A four-time Ryder Cupper himself, Azinger said he will consider more than just experience when selecting his four captain's picks.
'I want to spend my time on picking who is hot,' said Azinger. 'I have an opportunity no other Ryder Cup captain has ever had, and I appreciate that.'
Azinger will lead the U.S. team against his former broadcast partner, Nick Faldo, and the Europeans in the 37th Ryder Cup, to be played at Valhalla from September 19-21, 2008.