Clarke resists Ryder Cup change

Clarke had hinted in March that he was more likely to reduce his wildcards rather than increase them, but has decided to keep the same format used to determine the team for Gleneagles in 2014.

Nine players will qualify automatically, with the first four coming from points gained in European Tour events and five from world ranking points gained globally, before Clarke selects three wildcard picks.

“I gave it a lot of thought,” Clarke said during a press conference ahead of the Irish Open. “I went into comparisons of what teams would have been like under different systems, but my overall feeling was that considering the team Paul (McGinley) assembled at Gleneagles and how successful they were, it would have been very foolish to make any changes.

“This signals the start of what I know will be an intense and exciting period for me personally and for everyone involved with the European Tour. The qualification period is a truly global affair now and many of the players that will make the team will do so by playing in many tournaments around the world.

“However, as I said when I was announced as captain, I’m focused on assembling the best team possible to represent Europe and I think this system gives me the opportunity to do just that.”

The last counting event has yet to be determined but is traditionally held at the end of August, with the Ryder Cup itself taking place from September 30 to October 2 at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

In the hunt

The Northern Irishman is hoping for Irish Open victory at the 24th attempt this week and has been drawn in an all-British group for the first two rounds, teeing off alongside Luke Donald and Danny Willett.??

Clarke hasn’t recorded a single top-10 finish on the European Tour since winning the??Open Championship at Sandwich in 2011, but comes into the event on the back of a??closing 66 in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday.

“I played really nicely all week, just made some silly mistakes,” Clarke??added. “In terms of my ball striking it was really, really good again.??Hopefully I can bring that with me this week and just kick on from Sunday.

“Unfortunately, in more Irish Opens than I??can count, I’ve been first off on the Saturday morning which meant that I was??not involved in the business end of the tournament. Hopefully this week will be??a little bit different.”

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