A month after the conclusion of the Ryder Cup, a nagging question remains unanswered: Did the European team that the U.S. beat soundly at Hazeltine National field Europe’s 12 best golfers?
On a podcast with No Laying Up, Europe’s top player, Rory McIlroy, questioned the European team’s qualification process and the stipulation that says for players to be eligible for the team, they must be full-time members of the European tour.
That requirement kept Paul Casey, currently the No. 12 player in the world and quite possibly the hottest golfer in the world, off the Euro squad. “I think there can be changes to it and I think there should be changes to it,” McIlroy said of the qualification process. “Honestly, it should be the 12 best players from Europe versus the 12 best players from the United States. For me, there shouldn’t be anything to do with membership from tours.”
He added, “To have a guy like Paul Casey not on our team when he is playing some of the best golf in the world right now, it definitely hurt us.”
McIlroy offered the idea of forming the teams via the World Golf Rankings, using the 12 highest-ranked Europeans to assemble the roster. That would have included Casey, who was the sixth-highest ranked European the week of the Ryder Cup. On the U.S. side, the third-highest ranking American, Bubba Watson, also was left on the outside looking in.
“I know people have different opinions on Bubba, but when you have the seventh-ranked golfer in the world at the time not getting a pick on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, there’s—I felt a little uneasy about that,” McIlroy said. “You’re basically saying, ‘OK, this guy is a good enough player but we don’t want him on the team.’ It’s a difficult one…”
Check out that discussion and more in the podcast below.