By Tony Jimenez
LONDON (Reuters) - The European Ryder Cup captain will in future be chosen by a select five-man panel instead of the 15-strong Tournament Committee made up of tour players.
The panel is to comprise the three previous Ryder Cup captains, the chief executive of the European Tour and one representative from the Tournament Committee.
Paul McGinley, the 2014 captain, Jose Maria Olazabal (2012) and Colin Montgomerie (2010) will therefore have a large say in determining who will be in charge for the biennial match against the United States in Hazeltine, Minnesota, in 2016.
"This decision has come after a series of Tournament Committee meetings. After much reflection it was felt this change would see the most suitable candidate being invited to follow on from Paul," Ryder Cup director Richard Hills said in a news release on Friday.
"The job of captain is an ever expanding and ever demanding role and I think this decision perfectly focuses the three vital ingredients required in any selection process," Hills added.
"These are: the immediate experience of the three past captains which brings six years of vital knowledge to the table, the office of the chief executive ... which outlines the wide-ranging political and practical requirements, and the Tournament Committee representative who will...bring the feelings and wishes of the players to the discussion."
It comes as no surprise that a change has been made after European Tour chief executive George O'Grady expressed concern at the "unseemly" campaign that ended in January with McGinley's appointment for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland.
Tour players came out in support of their own favorites in the newspapers and on social networking sites in the weeks leading up to McGinley's selection, causing much media debate about which of the candidates was most suited to the role.
"It was never meant to be a campaigning business," O'Grady told Reuters in an interview at the Abu Dhabi Championship at the start of the season.
"That will probably have to be looked at in the cold light of day but the world has changed with all this twittering.
"I think personally one person should be invited to become captain and there should be no losers. There should be a view that this is the right guy at the right time because it can all be a little unseemly."
Europe will go to Gleneagles as the holders after producing a remarkable comeback to beat the U.S. by 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 points in Illinois last September.
(Editing by Tony Goodson)