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Paul McGinley deals himself an extra wild card for Gleneagles

European captain will have a larger say on his team after increasing picks from two to three

The Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, will benefit from a third wild-card selection when Europe defend the trophy at Gleneagles next year. The increase from two gives McGinley greater licence to accommodate a player running into form late and brings Europe into line with the United States, who downsized from four at the last meeting in Chicago.

The top four Europeans on the Race to Dubai order of merit and the top five in the world rankings at the end of the year-long qualification period that begins in September will make the team automatically. “I’ve done that  [increased the wild cards] to give myself a little bit of extra flexibility when it comes to making my selections,” McGinley said. “Hopefully, this will ensure that I have the right players to face the examination paper that Gleneagles will set out next September.”

The move is a positive step for the rank and file who might be denied the opportunity to contest the majors or world golf championship events because their world ranking is not high enough to earn an invitation. They now have the chance to persuade McGinley of their merit by winning or posting strong finishes at European Tour events late in the qualification window.