Swede Carl Pettersson has a win this year and leads after Day 1 of the PGA Championship. Even if he takes the first Swedish major title on Sunday at Kiawah Island, he cannot be a part of the European Ryder Cup team.
It's not because he is an American citizen. Luke Donald plays for Europe.
Then what is it?
It's because he is not a member of the European Tour. That's a requirement to get onto the European Ryder Cup team.
While the PGA of America runs the qualifying process for the American Ryder Cup team, the European Tour handles it for the opposition. They use the carrot of qualifying for the European Ryder Cup team to force players to maintain membership to earn one of the dozen spots on the team. To maintain membership, a player must compete in 13 European Tour events in that season.
Pettersson has not been a member of the European Tour since 2003. No dice to make the team on points or as a captain's pick.
It's a topic that came up when the self-dubbed "Swedish redneck" won at Hilton Head earlier this year.