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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Europe raise Ryder wildcard quota

Europe captain Colin Montgomerie will be able to pick an additional wildcard player for the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Montgomerie had hoped to have four wildcard choices at his disposal, but the European Tour committee agreed to three, one less than the United States.

Under the new system, five players will be selected from the European money list and four - down from the previous five - from the world rankings.

Wildcard Ian Poulter was Europe's top scorer in the 2008 defeat at Valhalla.

Nevertheless, the US won back the trophy last September with a comprehensive 16½-11½ victory.

After a prolonged spell of European dominance, US captain Paul Azinger lobbied to be able to pick four wildcards, and his request was granted.

Montgomerie, who was at the players' committee meeting at the County Louth club in Baltray, had been pushing to have four wildcard choices, arguing that it would allow him to select players in form.

But the decision to allow him three picks reflects the importance officials place on trying to retain and attract the top names to European tournaments.

Last year, Poulter and Paul Casey were both selected by Nick Faldo as wildcards after deciding to stay in the US for the final stretch of the qualifying race.

Montgomerie, who will be the first European captain to have three wildcards since Bernard Gallacher in 1993, is expected to give a news conference on Wednesday to give his reaction to the change.

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