Captain Lehman Agrees US Ryder Cup Point System Needs Improvement
At Monday’s press conference to announce his Ryder Cup wild card picks Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank, US Captain Tom Lehman revisited his secondary measure to help select those picks. When asked by the press if the selection process needs changes, he replied that now is not the time for those questions. But he did reveal that he’s been keeping his own alternate points system that awards points to the top ten American finishers in PGA Tour events during this season only. By creating a separate system, Lehman is tacitly admitting that the one currently in use is not adequate. Cink finished 6th on the Lehman List and Verplank 9th. In addition to their top tens, these two steady performers also had 5 other top 25s apiece.
The primary problem with the current system is that it only awards points to top ten finishes. That’s idiotic. Take a look at most PGA Tour events and you will find that in most cases 3 to 5 of those top ten spots are populated with non-Americans (the PGA Championship had just 4 Americans in the top ten). It also values an 11th place finish exactly the same as a missed cut. Those boys at the PGA need to get their head out of the sand and consult with the PGA Tour about appropriate measures to select the best team possible.
The Lehman List is much better than the PGA’s but I would prefer using current year earnings instead. That tally would have a bias built in for premium events and high finishes as well as some small rewards for a solid week’s play.
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My love affair with it started in '83 when the Americans reacted like little schoolboys to Lanny Wadkins knocking a wedge stone-dead on 18 to halve his match and (barely) clinch the Cup. Jack Nicklaus said it was one of the greatest shots under the gun he'd ever seen. They had my attention.
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