How are Golfers Selected to Play in the Ryder Cup?

Members of Team Europe with the Ryder Cup in 2014
Golfers in the Ryder Cup - this is Team Europe in 2014 - are selected via a combination of point lists and captain's picks. David Cannon/Getty Images

Ryder Cup player selection guidelines for Team USA are determined by the PGA of America, and for Team Europe by the European Tour.

In broad strokes, both sides use the same selection method: Most of the team qualifies automatically via points lists, and the remaining spots are filled at the discretion of the respective team captains. In the case of points lists, players accumulate points over periods specified by the PGA or Euro Tour.

Each Ryder Cup team consists of 12 golfers.

It's important to note that the specifics of the selection methods can change (and often have) from Ryder Cup to Ryder Cup, at the discretion of the European Tour and PGA of America, respectively.

How Europe's Ryder Cup Team Is Selected

For Team Europe, two points lists are maintained: the World Points List (based on world ranking points earned) and the European Tour Points List (based on money earned on the European Tour). Points earned in the year of the Ryder Cup are weighted more heavily. Team Europe is filled out thusly:

  • Top 4 players from European Points list
  • Four highest-ranking players on World Points list not already qualified via the Euro points list
  • Four captain's picks

How the USA's Ryder Cup Team Is Selected

For Team USA, one points list is maintained, and it is based on money earned in major championships, WGC tournaments and regular PGA Tour events (opposite field tournaments are not counted).

The points list covers most of the two years between Cups, and money earned in Year 2 (the year the Ryder Cup is taking place) is weighted more heavily than earnings from the first year.

Team USA is filled out thusly:

  • Top 8 players from the American points list
  • Four captain's selections

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