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Europeans Changes Ryder Cup Selection Process

ALVESLOHE, Germany -- The year long process of qualifying for the European Team at The 35th Ryder Cup Matches will get underway this September at the Omega European Masters.
The procedure for selecting the team will now award spots to five players from the Official World Golf Ranking and five players from the Order of Merit. Two wild card picks will be added by the captain to complete the 12-man team.
'The Ryder Cup Board recognizes the growing influence of the Official World Golf Ranking while also acknowledging the continued importance of the Order of Mert, which has supplied the majority of the European Teams since 1979,' said Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills. 'The Board is aware that golf has grown internationally and that European Tour members play in many countries on different tours. In those circumstances, it is felt that the implementation of this new qualification system will ensure that the Ryder Cup Team continues to be both competitive and representative of the talent at Europe's disposal.'
Based on the new system, the top five from the world rankings will qualify through points accumulated between the 2003 Omega European Masters and the 2004 WGC-NEC Invitational.
Those qualifying through the Order of Merit will have an additional week to rack up points.
The 35th Ryder Cup Matches will be contested at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan from September 17-19, 2004.
The captain for the European Team will be chosen in July. Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Stephen Leaney are among those being considered for the job.
The Europeans defeated the United States team 15 1/2 - 12 1/2 at The 34th Ryder Cup Matches in 2002 at The Belfry.