Bjorn to have four captain's picks as Europe announces Ryder Cup changes

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Thomas Bjorn will be able to make four captain's picks for the 2018 Ryder Cup after the European Tour announced changes to its qualification process.

The increase from three to four is one of a handful of alterations confirmed by the Tour on Wednesday.

Bjorn's team will consist of the top four players from the European points list, the best quartet from the world points list, and the captain's four wildcard selections.

There will also be a greater weighting of points for tournaments in the latter part of the season, in a bid to ensure players who are in the strongest form qualify for the final team of 12.

Last year, Darren Clarke's side were beaten 17-11 by their US counterparts at Hazeltine - Europe's first loss since 2008 - and critics pointed to a number of out-of-form players being included as a primary factor.

In another change, four tournaments rather than five will be enough for a player to retain his Tour membership, while the qualification process for the Ryder Cup will begin at the Czech Masters in late August.

"I am delighted that the Tournament Committee passed these regulations which I believe will considerably benefit the European Ryder Cup team in 2018 without compromising the strength or importance of the European Tour," Bjorn said.

"In my role as chairman of the Tournament Committee for the past 10 years and now as Ryder Cup Captain, I fully appreciate the need to balance both of these essential elements, and I think we have managed to do that.

"Part of the reason for my appointment last month was to, as soon as possible, begin the process required to regain The Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in 2018, and these changes are the first step on that journey.

"Hopefully they will help me have the 12 best European players available in 20 months' time."