Both Graeme McDowell and Colin Montgomerie believe this year’s Ryder Cup can’t go ahead at Whistling Straits if spectators aren’t present.
Speaking to SkySports 10 years after McDowell holed the winning putt for a Colin Montgomerie Captained European Team at Celtic Manor, the jubilant scenes around that 17th green upon victory made GMac consider the occasion without the noise of that day.
“Watching this thinking ‘does the Ryder Cup work without this atmosphere, this excitement, this experience?” He said.
“Standing on that first tee, whether it’s in Europe or America, and you’ve got that partisan feeling among the fans supporting their guys, you’ve got the noise and the passion. It’s the fans that bring the ‘X Factor’ to the Ryder Cup.
“That’s what makes the Ryder Cup so different, it’s what makes the intensity level for the players so different, and I can’t really imagine what it would feel like to make a 30-foot putt in a pivotal match in the Ryder Cup and then have silence.
“It would just be very strange, so I hope whatever decision gets made about this year’s Ryder Cup is for the good of the tournament, and for the good of what the Ryder Cup has become.
“We’ll see what happens, and if we can go ahead safely with fans, let’s do it. If it can’t go ahead safely with fans, then let’s wait a year and do it right.”
Montgomerie, who enjoyed a glittering Ryder Cup career as a player before proving himself a superb Captain too, doubled down on McDowell’s sentiments, insisting it would be impatient of this year’s tournament organisers to go ahead without fans.
“The Ryder Cup is worth playing properly, and properly means having fans,” he said.
“It is such a unique event, and while I can see some tournaments going ahead without fans, like the Charles Schwab Championship, I can’t see the Ryder Cup without fans.
“It’s just being impatient if it goes ahead, so let’s be patient and do it properly. It will be 10 times the event if you have the fans there, and it’s the fans that make or break the Ryder Cup.”