The United States' 2014 Ryder Cup captain, Tom Watson, has today announced plans to revise the team's selection process, trimming his wildcard picks from four to three golfers.
Watson's decision means that the top nine players - not eight - from the Ryder Cup points list will now be included for the 40th Ryder Cup competition at Gleneagles in Scotland next September, reverting back to the system last used ahead of the biennial golf event in 2006.
"Giving our players one more opportunity to earn a spot on merit, I believe, is the right thing to do," confirmed the 63-year-old, on the official Ryder Cup website.
"I will use all possible resources in choosing these three captain's choices to complete the best possible team in order to win the Cup back for the United States."
Europe has won five of the last six Ryder Cup contests following last year's 'Miracle at Medinah', where the team achieved one of the greatest comebacks in history on the final day's play in Illinois, winning eight and tying one of the 12 singles matches, to secure a 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 victory.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal dedicated the memorable victory to the late Seve Ballesteros, who passed away in May 2011, after a long battle with cancer.
The points system to determine the 2014 US team begins on April 14, after the 2013 Masters.
Players will continue to earn Ryder Cup points only during the major championships in non-Ryder Cup years, before points increase and encompass all tournaments again in 2014, with additional weight given to the majors.
The slight change in tact will - Watson believes - give the US team the greatest chance of success next year, when the eight-times major winner leads his players out against a European side captained by Ireland's Paul McGinley.
"Tom is committed to do everything in his power to win the Ryder Cup," reflected PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "His evaluation and research of the US qualifying system is just another example of his dedication to identify the best players for the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Team."
In addition to playing on four Ryder Cup teams, Watson captained the United States to victory at The Belfry in England in the 1993 edition of the Ryder Cup, and is confident the minor selection tweak will give golfers more control over their own destiny ahead of next year's competition that runs from September 26-28, 2014.
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