ABU DHABI (Reuters) - WGC-World Match Play champion Ian Poulter has called for a change to the European Ryder Cup qualifying system.
Last year the top four players on the world points list qualified first before the leading five on the European points list not already in the team made up the automatic nine members of the 12-man team that were finally supplemented by three wildcard choices.
Poulter wants the emphasis switched because the world points favor those competing full-time outside of Europe, even though it could cost him a place in the side.
“I would like the two tables to be flipped,” he told a news conference on Tuesday ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi Championship after Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal was appointed captain for the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, near Chicago.
“Looking at the last two Ryder Cups, if you took the Race to Dubai European points first and the world ranking points list second you would get the strongest side. But whether or not that happens (next year) we’ll have to wait and see.”
Fellow Briton Graeme McDowell, who will join Poulter by playing full-time on the U.S. PGA Tour this year, was undecided whether any adjustments were needed.
“It (a change) would put more emphasis on the European Tour and I kind of agree,” said the U.S. Open champion.
”The European Tour puts so much into the Ryder Cup that perhaps the emphasis should be on the European Tour and guys should show a commitment to this tour and be rewarded accordingly. But it’s a difficult one.
“You want the 12 best players. Golf is such a global game now, whether you’re a European Tour player full-time or not, or you’re a PGA Tour member or a dual member, you’re still going to play the majors and WGCs and the best events around the world,” added McDowell.
The Northern Irishman said priorities varied among the players.
“The Ryder Cup means more to certain guys like Ian Poulter and myself than it does maybe to guys that are focused on winning majors and U.S. FedExCup playoffs and the Race to Dubai,” explained McDowell.
”Not everyone loves the Ryder Cup as much as Ian does and embraces it maybe like him. Everyone has their goals and obviously it boils down to what it is you want the most.
“Of course we want to play in Ryder Cups but you’re not going to jeopardize your schedule to try and get on the team I guess. With the playoffs, guys work hard to get in there.”
Among the players who missed out on last year’s triumphant European Ryder Cup side were British pair Paul Casey, despite being number nine in the world at the time, and Justin Rose, twice a U.S. Tour winner in 2010.
Editing by Tony Jimenez