European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington is adamant the Ryder Cup should be postponed if organisers are considering playing the biennial match behind closed doors.
World golf threw supporters a bone this week with a revised schedule of events for 2020 with the Ryder Cup taking pride of place in its original slot set for September 25-27 at Whistling Straits.
However, with coronavirus still rampant around the globe, particularly in the United States, the likelihood of mass gatherings the size of which the Ryder Cup attracts being permitted would seem remote at this stage.
The alternative is a Ryder Cup played without fans present but take away the atmosphere synonymous with the three-day event and Harrington doesn’t believe going ahead would be the right option.
“Nobody wants to see the Ryder Cup played without the fans being there,” Harrington told the BBC.
“There’s no doubt that it makes the tournament so much better. I think the common consensus now is the Ryder Cup will not be played unless the fans are there.
“Non-golfers and golfers around the world watch the Ryder Cup because of the tension that’s created by the spectators.”
The recently unveiled revised schedule sees the famous matchup between Europe and America follow directly after the now rearranged US Open. Whether or not the hosting of a Major championship, which is sure to feature probably all 24 Ryder Cup participants, is a good idea given the drain on players fighting for one of golf’s four premier tournaments is another spanner in the organising works but for now the Ryder Cup goes ahead, though Harrington admits the fate of the tournament is far from certain.
“I’m not saying it hasn’t been in doubt,” Harrington added. “I’m sure they’ve looked at alternatives and things like that.
“But the only reason for the Ryder Cup not being there, and that’s outside everybody’s hands, is the coronavirus. It’s not something that’s within our control.
“There are bigger things too than the Ryder Cup. I hope that we get our chance to play. I think it’s something that can bring people together and is something to look forward to and enjoy.”