The European team selection criteria have been finalised in preparation for this year’s Ryder Cup Junior Match at the Olympia Fields Country Club, Illinois, USA, from September 24-25, 2012.
The Ryder Cup Junior Match was formally introduced in 1997, following an exhibition match between teams of boys and girls from Europe and the United States in 1995. The match traditionally takes place just before The Ryder Cup and comprises six girls and six boys on each team.
The competition helped launch the careers of Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan, who have played in The Ryder Cup, as well as Solheim Cup player Suzann Pettersen and teenage European Tour winner Matteo Manassero.
Selections will target two under-16 boys, two under 16 girls, four under-18 girls and four under-18 boys to make the 12-player European team. Players must satisfy their respective age category as of January 1, 2012.
The European Young Masters (EYM), to be played at the Royal Balaton Golf Club Hungary in late July, will feature in selections once again with the girls’ and boys’ champion receiving automatic selection for the under-16 category. The remaining under-16 selections will be made by a committee comprising Captain Stuart Wilson, Assistant Captain Kristin Gunhildrud and representatives from the European Golf Association and The European Tour.
All under-18s will be subject to selection by the committee, who will be present at a number of key events, including the European Boys’ and Girls’ Team Championships. Player performances in national level championships and standings in national and European Amateur Golf Rankings will also be reviewed.
The complete European team will be announced following the European Young Masters in late July.
The selection committee said: “Objective selection criteria, which would fairly take into account the two different age and gender groups within the team, are difficult to determine for this event. We like the EYM to play its part, but finding an equitable system which takes into account the distribution and standard of events becomes a too complex a proposition to separate the few players left in each category following the Captain’s picks.
“We hope to justify our selections based on player performances, observation and obtaining appropriate advice from the national golf authorities and PGA representatives.”
After their match at Olympia Fields, the European youngsters will travel to Medinah Country Club, also in Illinois, to watch the main event and to play a nine-hole friendly exhibition match.
The Europeans will seek to reverse the previous two results, having lost to the United States at Gleneagles in 2010 and at The Club at Olde Stone in Kentucky in 2008. Prior to this, Europe won in 2002 at the K Club, Ireland and in 2004 at Westfield Group Country Club in Ohio. The 2006 contest at The Celtic Manor Resort was tied.