Padraig Harrington of Ireland holds the Ryder Cup. Photo: Vincent Phoon/AP Photo

LONDON  European captain Padraig Harrington has decided to cut his wild card selections from four to three for next year's Ryder Cup in the United States.

Nine of Harrington's players will qualify automatically for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits as a result of points earned on the European Tour -- a process that will start with the 2019 PGA Championship at Wentworth, southwest of London and finish at the 2020 edition of the flagship tournament.

Harrington will then select three wild cards to complete his team for Europe's defence of the team golf trophy they won in commanding style in Paris last year.

"I have said on many occasions that one of the reasons for recent European success in the Ryder Cup is continuity," Harrington explained in a tour statement issued Wednesday.

"It is a theme that will be prevalent across my captaincy and I think you can see that in the overall qualification process for the 2020 team," the Irishman added.

"Having said that, I am pleased that the (European Tour) tournament committee agreed to the change of wild card numbers.

"I have spoken to a number of people regarding the ninth player automatically qualifying for the team and in my experience, a player is more comfortable when he has qualified, hence my reasoning behind this change," the three-time major winner explained. 

"I am also delighted to be starting and ending the process at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. 

"It is one of our most prestigious events, played at an iconic venue and the home of the European Tour itself, and will help give a real narrative to the qualification race," he said.

AFP