Poulter: Switch Ryder Cup qualifiers

England’s Ian Poulter would like to see European Ryder Cup qualifying system switched around.

England’s Ian Poulter, the reigning WGC-World Match Play champion, would like to see European Ryder Cup qualifying system switched around.

Last year the top four players on a World Points List qualified first before the leading five on a European Tour points list not already in the team via the World Points list were brought in to make up the nine-man list of team members who qualified automatically before captain Colin Montgomerie added his three wild-car picks to complete his 12-man team.

Poulter wants the emphasis switched because the World Points list favors those competing full-time outside of Europe – even though it could cost him a place in the side.

“I would like the two tables to be flipped,” he told a media conference on Tuesday ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi Championship and shortly after Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal had been named as the European captain for the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, near Chicago.

“Looking at the last two Ryder Cups, if you took the Race to Dubai European points first and the world ranking points list second you would get the strongest side. But whether or not that happens (next year) we’ll have to wait and see,” Poulter added.

Fellow Briton Graeme McDowell, who will join Poulter in the US this year and play full-time on the PGA Tour, wasn’t so sure that he agreed with Poulter.

“It (a change) would put more emphasis on the European Tour and I kind of agree,” said the current US Open champion.

“The European Tour puts so much into the Ryder Cup that perhaps the emphasis should be on the European Tour and guys should show a commitment to this tour and be rewarded accordingly. But it’s a difficult one.

“You want the 12 best players. Golf is such a global game now, whether you’re a European Tour player full-time or not, or you’re a PGA Tour member or a dual member, you’re still going to play the majors and WGCs and the best events around the world,” added McDowell.

The hero of last year’s Ryder Cup victory in Wales said priorities varied among the players.

“The Ryder Cup means more to certain guys like Ian Poulter and myself than it does maybe to guys that are focused on winning majors and US FedExCup playoffs and the Race to Dubai,” explained McDowell.

“Not everyone loves the Ryder Cup as much as Ian does and embraces it maybe like him. Everyone has their goals and obviously it boils down to what it is you want the most.

“Of course we want to play in the Ryder Cups but you’re not going to jeopardize your schedule to try and get on the team I guess. With the playoffs, guys work hard to get in there.”

Among the US-based players who missed out on last year’s triumphant European Ryder Cup side were the English duo of Paul Casey, ranked then at No 9 in the world, and Justin Rose, who had won twice during the year on twice on the US PGA Tour.