McDowell suggests mid-June as a realistic restart date
Graeme McDowell / Image from Getty Images

Graeme McDowell / Image from Getty Images

Graeme McDowell has suggested that the middle of June is a “realistic restart date” for the PGA Tour.

Many had hoped pandemic fears would have eased by now to allow McDowell to host this year’s Irish Open at the end of May as planned but with the Mount Juliet showpiece amongst a laundry list of events struck from the schedule this term due to COVID-19, the Northern Irishman now has his fingers crossed for a mid-June reboot.

“It’s so difficult to know,” McDowell told the BBC

“I’m thinking the middle of June is a realistic restart date – with or without crowds, who knows?”

“You watch the news and hear a lot of positive things, then you watch it again and hear a lot of negative things.

“There’s a danger of the curve slowing down and everyone jumping back into normal life only to get re-infected and get a new curve, so it’s impossible to tell.”

It’s looking increasingly likely that when golf does resume, that tournaments will be played behind closed doors as we ease our way back into “normal life”. It’s not ideal but given the lack of live sport right now, it would be a welcomed change of place.

“It would be very strange,” McDowell admitted of golf with no atmosphere.

“I love the opportunity to play golf tournaments regardless but the crowds bring so much to the atmosphere. They’re an integral part of the golfing experience with regards to pressure on a Sunday afternoon.

“Paul Azinger said it there a couple of months ago when he put his foot in it a little bit with the Tommy Fleetwood situation, when he said pressure comes down to two things – money and crowds.

“The crowd brings the X-factor and that extra pressure.”

And while McDowell accepts that some tournaments must go down this route in order to complete a fuller schedule, he simply can’t agree that the Ryder Cup could go ahead without spectators.

“I don’t think the Ryder Cup works without fans,” he said.

“It would be like trying to have the World Cup final or the FA Cup final in an empty stadium. I’m optimistic. I hope the Ryder Cup can happen. It’s such a special event and does so much for the golfing world.

“At a time when people could use an injection of fun and entertainment, it could be a timely golf tournament to be played.”

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