European Ryder Cup qualifying for 2018 begins at Czech Masters
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 29/08/17 1:54pm
The race to qualify for Thomas Bjorn’s European Team at the 2018 Ryder Cup begins this week at the D+D Real Czech Masters.
The event at Albatross Golf Resort is the first in a year-long qualification period where players can earn points in their bid to make Bjorn's 12-man team at Le Golf National.
The top four players from the European Points List and the leading four from the World Points List will automatically qualify for Team Europe, with Bjorn having wildcard picks for the other four spots.
"So far there has been a lot of planning, but now all my focus turns to the 12 who are going to play, which is by far the most important thing," Bjorn said.
"I am so close to a lot of the players, many of them are great friends of mine, and I am trying to balance the captaincy with those friendships.
"So many of those relationships extend beyond The Ryder Cup, and I've got to realise that I have got to be a captain of these players and some will be there and some will not."
The qualification campaign runs through to the 2018 Made In Denmark, held at Bjorn's home golf course, with a greater weighting for points earned in the latter stages of the process.
Points earned from the 2018 BMW PGA Championship in May onwards will be multiplied by 1.5 for the two qualification lists, while no points will be available in any tournament clashing with a Rolex Series event.
"Everyone believes they have a chance of playing in the team," Bjorn added. "There might a couple of players who go on to surprise everyone and I have to have an open mind to that.
"If you look at guys who are ranked 25th to 30th in the Race to Dubai they are so talented and so capable and you don't know if they are the ones who next year will go on to take that step to become one of the best players in Europe and make the team.
"The way it looks today it is going to be a well-balanced team, I would like to think. You have got to have rookies and you have got to have experience in there."
Watch the D+D Real Czech Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 10am