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European Ryder Cup team freezes qualifying until start of 2021

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The European Tour announced Wednesday that it was freezing the qualification process for the Ryder Cup until the beginning of next year after the matches were postponed until 2021.

Points earned to date will still count, but the European and World Points lists will resume Jan. 1. In a statement, the tour said one or more points multipliers may be introduced during the course of the 2021 season to “ensure that strong performance closer to the match in September 2021 is given added importance.” By not restarting the points system until the beginning of 2021, the European team won’t officially count results in three majors this year.

The Ryder Cup on Wednesday was officially postponed a year, until Sept. 24-26, 2021. If the matches weren’t delayed, the European team faced the unenviable task of fielding a team through a pandemic. The European Tour has been shut down since early March and resumes this week with the Austrian Open.

As of now, the automatic qualifiers for the European team are Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Bernd Wiesberger, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Matt Fitzpatrick and Victor Perez.

Rahm: 'I don't wanna play' Ryder Cup without fans

Rahm: 'I don't wanna play' Ryder Cup without fans

European captain Padraig Harrington will keep three captain’s picks for 2021. Among those who, as of now, would need to play their way onto the team next year: Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Shane Lowry, Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland.

“The 2020 season has already been heavily disrupted, and may continue to be further impacted, by a number of COVID-19 related issues in terms of travel restrictions, quarantine regulations and individual personal concerns,” Harrington said in a statement. “I feel that players should not feel under pressure to play and therefore the points tables should not apply from now until the end of the year from a schedule that could change further.

“However, while that is the case, notable performances will still very much count in my considerations for picks as I maintain a keen interest in the form of all possible Ryder Cup team members in tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic.”  

PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said that a final determination on the U.S. Ryder Cup qualifying process will be announced in the coming weeks. Prior to the postponement, American captain Steve Stricker said that he was increasing his number of wildcard picks, from four to six.

“We’ll take a look at all the scenarios,” Stricker said Wednesday. “We just want to put our best team forward, and whatever that looks like, we’re going to do.”