To-do list regarding next Ryder Cups piling up for victorious Europeans

thomas bjorn
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Thomas Bjorn and the rest of the European braintrust have a lot of issues to tackle in the next few months.
By
Mark Garrod

Series:

Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | 5:24 p.m.

The current plan is for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland to be held slightly earlier in the year than was the 2010 Ryder Cup, but Thomas Bjorn would love to see it played in August rather than September whenever Europe hosts the event.

"It's only here once every four years and I think there should be consideration given to that,” said Bjorn, who was played in the Ryder Cup, serving an an assistant captain and is current chairman of the powerful European Tour Tournament Players Committee. "I f you can have [weather] trouble in Wales at the start of October, you can have trouble in Scotland at the end of September."

THE RYDER CUP

Fresh off their narrow win in Wales, the Europeans have a lot of decisions to make going forward.

Further talks are to be held between Europe's Ryder Cup Committee, the PGA of America and the PGA Tour, whose scheduling of the FedExCup playoffs is seen by some observers as the main obstacle to moving earlier in the calendar.

"It's a discussion for the big-wigs, not for me," said Bjorn, but there will be other Ryder Cup matters on the agenda for his committee early in the New Year.

First the captaincy, although that appears to need the answer to one simple question: Is Jose Maria Olazabal in a position to succeed Montgomerie?

The Spaniard has only just returned to action after further problems with rheumatic pains, and one of the main reasons Montgomerie agreed to take over from Nick Faldo was that he was still playing full-time on the circuit and therefore better able to assess potential team members.

"Just about every player on the European Tour when I last talked to them about this would love to see Jose Maria as the captain of the European team,” said European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady. “I haven't heard one person who wouldn't, but it's up to him. He has not been invited yet, but I hope so.

"I hope he is fit. He is an honorable, incredible man and if he didn't feel he could do it completely to the best of his ability he probably would not put a committee in that position."

Then there is the European qualifying system, the subject of much debate in August when the so-called "FedEx Four" of Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Justin Rose didn’t return to Europe for the last two weeks of the points race.

Harrington and Donald were given wild cards, but Montgomerie had only three and Casey and Rose both missed out after Italian Edoardo Molinari won the final qualifying event.

"We will listen to Monty and whoever the new captain is," Bjorn added. "There are strong views coming from all angles and the committee will come up with what we think is right."

Donald believes that a simple switch could help the situation.

At present, four players are chosen based on their world ranking points earned during the qualifying period, then five based on European Tour earnings, plus three wild cards.

If the European Tour list had come first this year, Molinari, Donald, Harrington and Rose would all have qualified instead of Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson.

"I'm third this year in total world ranking points won (behind Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood) and yet I still had to rely on a pick," Donald said. "That seems crazy."