Europe captain McGinley keeps his options open with three wild card picks for 2014 Ryder Cup

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has followed through on the broad hint he dropped in this newspaper in February and opted for three wild cards instead of two for the match against the Americans at Gleneagles next year.

His predecessor Jose Maria Olazabal restricted himself to two for the match at Medinah last September but the Irishman feels he needs more leeway.

‘I have said on a number of occasions that if something ain’t broke don’t fix it, and that applies to our qualification process,’ said McGinley.

Options open: Europe captain Paul McGinley

Options open: Europe captain Paul McGinley

‘But I’ve made this tweak to give myself a little extra flexibility. Hopefully this will ensure I have the right players to face the examination paper that Gleneagles will set next year.’

The change to Europe’s complicated process means just four players will now qualify from the European Tour points list, followed by five from the World list.

With so many of Europe’s leading players now based in America, there is the danger that one or two will miss out on either list, so McGinley is giving himself an extra guarantee that they won’t be lost.

Glory boy: Captain's pick Ian Poulter played a key role in Ryder Cup triumph

Glory boy: Captain's pick Ian Poulter played a key role in 2012 triumph

The Dubliner also believes the change will act as an incentive to those based in Europe. ‘I’m thinking of guys who are not in the world’s top 50 but playing at home in Europe and playing well,’ he said.

‘They are going to rank very highly with the opportunity  of a pick. Think of Edoardo Molinari in 2010, who had an incredible year on the European Tour yet didn’t make the team  by right. I think that’s a case in point where a pick was the right decision.’