Clarke now calling for Ryder Cup to be postponed to 2021

Bernie McGuire

Team Europe captain Darren Clarke in the Singles Matches during the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course. By TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Former European Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke is now probably the last to call for what the golf world seems to know will already happen and that is that the 2020 Ryder Cup will be postponed to 2021.

The PGA of America and European Tour are expected this week to confirm the move rather than go ahead with a ‘no spectator’ encounter in September.

And Clarke, who was at the helm of a European defeat four years ago at Hazeltine, believes it’s a ‘good decision’ to put the world’s now third highest ranked team sporting spectacle back 12 months.

“A Ryder Cup without fans is not really a Ryder Cup,” Clarke said in speaking with BBC Sport NI.

“I think a postponement would probably be the best way forward and make it bigger and better than ever next year.

“To play it behind closed doors maybe would be a slight advantage to the European team because the Americans wouldn’t have their home support, which counts for a lot.

“But the guys revel in the atmosphere. The whole atmosphere buzzes around the golf course and that’s a hugely important part of the Ryder Cup.”

Clarke’s views are the same as fellow Ulsterman Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

A ‘keen to get back to work’ Clarke has been home alone at his Albaco residence in the Bahamas for the majority of the time since March 14th and unfortunately without his wife Alison who has been ‘grounded’ in Northern Ireland due to travel restrictions brought on by the global pandemic.

Son Tyrone, now in college at Boca Raton, Florida, was able to link up with his father 10 days ago but Alison and his other son Conor remain in Northern Ireland.

“Alison was with me the week before that (14 March) when I was playing in California but she had to go home to take care of her business and do some things,” Clarke added.

“Then all borders got shut so quickly that I couldn’t get Alison and Conor here, so all I want is to get back to my job’

The Dungannon native hopes to resume competitive golf when the over-50 Champions Tour resumes in Ohio mid next month (August).

“I will have to leave here on July 27 and go to America, self-isolate for a couple of weeks and then get ready for that,” said Clarke also to BBB NI.

The return of the PGA Tour has seen a number of players and caddies having to pull out of events after testing positive for Coronavirus but Clarke says he is keen to “get back doing my job” despite natural concerns over the situation – particularly in the US.

“I will try and do everything I possibly can in following all the protocols to avoid catching the virus,” he said. “We just have to be careful and just hope for the best.”

Unfortunately, for Irish fans his Champions Tour commitments mean Clarke is almost certain to miss any rescheduled Irish Open for the first time in his professional career in the autumn because of the difficulties involved in travelling back and forth between Europe and the US at the moment because of the pandemic.

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