Russian rendezvous the first stop for 2016 Ryder hopefuls

Luke Donald’s form is on the slide, which makes Ryder Cup qualification difficult

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The Independent Online

Russia has the honour of hosting the first 2016 Ryder Cup points-scoring tournament in September, and no, Sepp Blatter was not involved in the process.

The M2M Russian Open at the Skolkovo Golf Club in Moscow in the first week of September starts the ball rolling towards Hazeltine next year.

Since the 2016 calendar has yet to be finalised the last counting tournament  has still to be determined.

As was the case last year for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the first four automatic qualifiers will come from the European Tour Race to Dubai points list. The next five will be drawn from the world rankings and the final three selections will be at the invitation of the Europe captain, Darren Clarke.

“I am delighted that we are able to announce the start of the qualification for the 2016 European Ryder Cup team. 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,” Clarke said yesterday.

Not perhaps for those with big names and iffy form. Luke Donald was the biggest casualty last year, failing to make the team automatically or via the captain’s pick mechanism when Paul McGinley chose Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher ahead of him.

If Donald’s form continues to slide he might take himself out of the equation by resigning from the European Tour in order to rebuild his game and his ranking solely in America, where tournaments with deeper fields carry more ranking points. Only members of the European Tour are eligible for the Ryder Cup. Donald fell out of the world top 60 last week and needs to climb into the top50 to guarantee entry to the majors and world golf championship events. 

“The qualification period is a truly global affair now,” Clarke said. “I’m focused on assembling the best team possible and I think this system gives me the opportunity to do just that.”