Ryder Cup will be pushed back to 2021 over coronavirus concerns

Confirmation that the Ryder Cup, due to be held in September at Whistling Straits, will be postponed until 2021 is expected next week.

The PGA of America has announced the first major of the year, the US PGA Championship, will be held in early August without spectators. Talks between the PGA of America and the European Tour, who preside jointly over the Ryder Cup, and local government officials in Wisconsin are now close to completion despite a public line of “no change” to existing arrangements. Work on the spectator build at Whistling Straits, ordinarily well under way by now, is not believed to have meaningfully started.

With health and safety concerns to the fore – playing the biennial competition without spectators has never been a serious option – postponement is now seen as the most responsible solution. As recently as last month hopes had been raised that the Ryder Cup could take place. The relevant parties have considered the US and Europe facing off in front of reduced numbers, with around 25,000 per day mooted, but that is not now thought viable amid coronavirus concerns. Ongoing travel restrictions – such as quarantine – are also a factor.

The Ryder Cup will remain in “odd” years following the switch, as was the case before 9/11 led to a 12-month delay to its 2001 version. That Europe will wait until 2023 for a home Ryder Cup, which will be held in Italy, will reduce recurring speculation about the state of the European Tour’s finances. A knock-on benefit will arise for Adare Manor, which will now be the Ryder Cup host in 2027 – 100 years on from the first official staging of the event. A delayed Irish Open could fill this year’s Ryder Cup slot.

With next year an exception, it is believed the Ryder Cup’s host broadcasters in the US are comfortable with a move away from Olympic years. There will be a 2021 clash between the Ryder Cup and male golf’s other international team event, the Presidents Cup. While the assumption is the Presidents Cup, which is a property of the PGA Tour, will move to 2022 that has not yet been set in stone.

Delivering news that the US PGA, at Harding Park in San Francisco, will be closed to fans the PGA of America’s chief executive, Seth Waugh, said: “While the local community cannot be with us physically on-site, we will certainly carry their spirit of resilience and unity with us as we stage our major championship, on their behalf, for all the world to see and enjoy.”

source: theguardian.com