Should The Ryder Cup Captain Get 12 Picks?

Should the Ryder Cup captain get 12 picks? We put it to the forum...

Should the Ryder Cup captain get 12 picks?

Since the USA's thumping victory, it's been a question many Europeans have been asking. So, should the Ryder Cup captain get 12 picks? We put it to the forum...

Colin Montgomerie has always been a fan of the Ryder Cup skipper being able to select the entire team so they could put together, in their opinion, the best team possible. The Americans had six picks this year which was a benefit rather than a hindrance while we had three as opposed to four in 2018.

We put it to the vote...

No - 77%

The quickest way to ruin the European Tour. And in regards the US - five of the six picked were the next in line anyway. I remember when we lost in 2016 the exact same suggestions were made, change this and change that etc etc. Bjorn had four picks instead of the three Clarke had but, beyond that, there wasn’t much difference and we stuffed the US team in 2018. There is no need to make dramatic changes – the Europeans have a system that works and has shown to work. Italy is going to be a different story for the US team and they won’t find it as easy to play in front of an away crowd.

I do think that it is worth them looking to create a comp with the Rest of the World.


Absolutely no way. I'd go further, all 12 should be qualifiers, and not mates rates like when Clarke picked Westwood, Harrington picking Poulter, or even Faldo not picking Monty (I appreciate Monty didn't qualify). Maybe the points should be further skewed towards the current year to get a more in form team, but it's an honour to play, and players should know where they stand.

Banchory Buddha

There should be some qualification element but I think their system is a lot better, six qualifiers and six picks is perfect.


With picks there is too much potential for a captain to pick his mates. It is simple enough, play well and you qualify.

Lord Tyrion

Harrington has come under scrutiny in the wake of Europe's crushing defeat

My only concern with 12 picks is, in a way, what happened this time around. Although there were circumstances in which all three could missed out on qualification, Fitz, Lee and Hatton all went into this Ryder Cup with decidedly patchy form having played well enough in the first part of the qualifying process to make the team. Imagine, out of 12 qualifiers, seven of them are currently underperforming as their game has gone south, there would be no point turning up.

This US team seemed to have no loss of form but in the past there's always been some on each side that don't perform. That's where the picks come in. Pick the guys on form.

I guess you have to trust that the captain (and his VCs) to pick appropriately. Poulter was, maybe, a sentimental pick but Sergio and Shane were showing good form in the run up.

I'd like to see four from the Euro points, four from the World points and four picks. The downside is the World Ranking is biased towards US events so it would encourage players to go over there and would kill off what little of the ET we have left.


Not for me but more emphasis on current year form would be good. I'd also think about qualifying based more on world ranking rather than this hybrid system of separate lists.


The simple fact is it was a team in transition, the question is how good is the next generation of players going to be?


I really do not think Europe would have had done much better regardless of what players were in that team. So I wouldn't be rushing out to drastically change the qualification process on the back of this weekend's result. Not sure I like the idea of 12 picks though. Partly because the captain may tend to pick his "mates" in some cases, and overlook a much higher-ranked player. Also, when there is a qualification process, you can see the players who are driven to make the team, desperately looking to do well to earn their spot. In doing so, they can be playing their way into form at the last minute to just make it. And the captain can use this as an example to show how badly certain players want to be part of it, which can help him out in his few picks.


Not for me but I'd go for six picks and end the contrived Euro/World points lists thingy. 2023 might be too soon for the latter of those but as world pro golf and the ET evolves over the next few years I'd hope they can come up with something better. Also it has to better reflect form too many guys qualified by right despite not playing great recently. OK, you might want to include someone like that depending on what alternatives are available but at least allow that option.


Four from the World list, four from the ET list and four picks. With points weighting to the later tournaments.


Would more picks have made a difference to the European cause?

I quite like there being a qualification process and think knee-jerk reactions after one defeat (albeit an embarrassing one) would be too strong. I would like to see far more weighting given to performances closer to the event and also significant weighting given to any matchplay events on either tour as they are surely the best barometer of whether a player is suitable.

My other suggestion (probably far from realistic) would be for the European Tour to perhaps add in a few team events to the calendar that play formats such as foursomes and fourballs with the hope of attracting both possible European and even American players to play. Maybe offer incentives to host courses or countries for changing from a strokeplay event and could have some sort of group format to ensure a minimum number of rounds played.


It’s a fun debate, I think the only thing that really comes through the debate is not having players who were on form a very long time ago. But it would be interesting to see who people think should have played, given what we now know if Paddy had had six?

Let’s assume (because I can back work it out) that Wiesberger, Westwood and Fitzpatrick lost their automatic spots, who would be the six picks (and knowing that form is important)?

I’d still have gone for Wiesberger and thought he played very well for zero points, MacIntyre, Perez, Migliozzi, Detry, Bland? Form, again is the same issue. You might have picked Rose but he had only one good late event. We need to go to about 75 in the world rankings to find anyone else so it sort of tells me that selection wasn’t the key.


Yes - 23%

Why shouldn't it be? 12 players on form rather than someone who won a big event two years ago and has done nothing since.


The European Tour has already flatlined. At best it's the equivalent of the Korn Ferry Tour with a few marquee tournaments every season.


Why not? After all the manager/coach picks the entire team in football, cricket and rugby. The form on which selection is currently based is determined by singles strokeplay over 72 holes which is not necessarily a good indication of how a player may perform in 18 holes of fourball or foursomes matchplay. As those two formats account for 16 of the 28 points that, for me, is a good reason for the captain to have 12 picks.


Am all for it, at last I get a chance of a wild card pick – 18 shots could give me a chance plus I would be the first Ryder Cup player to wrap a club round someone’s head for shouting ‘mashed potato’.


Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.