Bjorn gets extra wildcard pick as Europe tweak Ryder Cup criteria

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[January 18, 2017]    (Reuters) - The European Tour amended its selection criteria for the 2018 Ryder Cup on Wednesday, handing captain Thomas Bjorn an extra wildcard pick and tweaking the qualifying system so the team contains more in-form players.

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn poses with the trophy after being appointed as the European Ryder Cup Captain for The 2018 Ryder Cup Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic

Europe lost to the United States by a crushing 17-11 margin at Hazeltine National last year, prompting the European Tour to change its selection criteria for the 2018 edition in Paris.

Accordingly, Bjorn will have four wild card picks instead of the three given to last year's captain Darren Clarke.

Tournaments in the latter half of the season will also be given a greater points weighting to ensure the team contains the players who are in the best form before the Ryder Cup begins.

"I'm confident that we're going to have the 12 best European players representing us in France," Bjorn, who was named Europe's captain in December, said.

"From my own experience when you make all your points in November and December the year before, it can be quite daunting to play in the Ryder Cup when you haven't played particularly well for three or four months coming into it.

"I don't think you can, at any time in sports, take away from guys that are in form."

Players will also now have to play a minimum of four European Tour events outside the Major Championships and World Golf Championships next season instead of five to keep their Tour membership.

There will also be no Ryder Cup qualifying points available from tournaments played in the same weeks as the European Tour's new Rolex Series, a group of eight events with enhanced prize money that begins with the BMW PGA at Wentworth at the end of May.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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