By Andrew Both
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (Reuters) – The United States will retain four wildcard selections for next year’s Ryder Cup, captain Steve Stricker said on Wednesday.
Speaking on the eve of the PGA Championship, Stricker was asked whether he would follow the lead of his European counterpart Padraig Harrington, who has decided to cut his captain’s picks from four to three.
“We haven’t thought to change that at all,” Stricker said. “I think our process that we’ve gone through over the years has worked.
“I’m comfortable with having the four picks. I think it gives us a lot of flexibility on … who’s playing well. I think we’re happy with what we’re doing.”
Stricker’s comments notwithstanding, an argument could be made that the captain’s choices have not always worked well recently.
Three of Furyk’s picks for last year’s event in Paris — Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau — lost every match they played.
Only Tony Finau shone, winning two of his three matches.
As for the European side, Harrington said he would most likely pick the number nine player on the qualifying list anyway in his 12-man team.
“My opinion on this matter is that players who qualify tend to be more confident and assured of their place in the team than players who are selected,” Harrington said on Tuesday.
“When you qualify, you’ve qualified on merit, you deserve to be there, and it takes a little bit of the stress and pressure off.”
Next year’s Ryder Cup will be held from Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits adjacent to Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.
Europe has dominated the Ryder Cup the past two decades, with six consecutive home victories in the biennial event.
But the spoils have been evenly shared when it has been played in the U.S., with the Americans and Europeans both winning three of the past six.
(Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Ed Osmond)