(Reuters) - Former world number one Rory McIlroy has urged the European Tour to scrap its controversial rule barring non-members of that tour from competing in the Ryder Cup, the Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday.
According to McIlroy, the absence of United States-based Englishman Paul Casey for that reason "definitely hurt" Europe's bid to win the biennial team competition for a fourth successive time in Minnesota last month.
Holders Europe lost to the United States by a crushing 17-11 margin at Hazeltine National, prompting the European Tour to consider changes to its selection criteria for the 2018 edition in Paris.
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"It should be the best 12 players from Europe versus the best 12 players from the U.S.," Northern Irish world number two McIlroy was quoted as saying. "For me, there shouldn't be anything to do with membership of tours.
"To have a guy like Paul Casey not on our team when he is playing some of the best golf in the world right now, it definitely hurt us (at Hazeltine)."
Casey, the world number 12, has recorded four top-four finishes in his last six starts on the U.S. PGA Tour and would have been one of the hottest players on the European team at Hazeltine had he qualified for selection.
However, the 39-year-old is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has opted not to retain membership of the European Tour where he would have to compete in a minimum of five tournaments outside the four majors and four World Golf Championship events.
Europe captain Darren Clarke added three wildcard picks to the nine automatic selections to round out his team for Hazeltine but McIlroy would like to see the entire 12-man lineup qualify on merit in the future.
"I know that isn't as exciting in terms of captain's picks and qualifying process and everything else," McIlroy told the Nolayingup podcast.
"But if we're trying to make it the fairest way for the best 12 to make each team, I think that's the way to go."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Ian Ransom)