Colin Montgomerie: Money the only reason to play Ryder Cup this year
"The Ryder Cup without fans is not the Ryder Cup," winning captain from 2010 tournament at Celtic Manor tells Sky Sports News
By Jamie Weir
Last Updated: 28/06/20 7:58am
Colin Montgomerie believes money would be the only reason to play the Ryder Cup this year, if it proves impossible to stage it without fans.
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Montgomerie has previously urged the tournament authorities, the European Tour and the PGA of America, to be "patient" and wait until the Ryder Cup can be played "properly", rather than the possibility of playing the event without crowds.
The Guardian reported earlier in the week that the biennial contest - scheduled for September 25-27 - would be postponed until 2021, with Montgomerie feeling that would be the correct decision if spectators couldn't attend.
"The powers that be, if they can economically afford not to do this and can delay this a year, let's hope they do," Montgomerie, the victorious European captain 10 years ago, told Sky Sports News. "The Ryder Cup without fans is not the Ryder Cup.
"I think we can play golf tournaments [without fans], we've proven that and it's been a success, but the Ryder Cup is a unique event and in that way we need fans."
Montgomerie is one of Europe's greatest ever Ryder Cup players, an ever-present on the team on eight straight occasions between 1991 and 2006. He played on three winning teams in a row alongside this year's captain Padraig Harrington, who he believes will have no say whatsoever in the final decision.
"If it's not economics, it should have been delayed already," Montgomerie added. "It was delayed because of 9/11 in 2001, and we all accepted that.
"Everything's been put back a year. If the Ryder Cup's delayed a year, great, let it be. Let's play the Ryder Cup properly when we can in 2021.
"If the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor was postponed because of something outside my influence as captain, or Padraig's influence as captain this time around - as it is - he's got to abide by it and I'm sure he will."
Montgomerie believes 'player power' may force the organisers' hand, with the top two players in the world - Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm - both calling for the event to be postponed for a year and world No 4 Brooks Koepka suggesting that he would consider boycotting if it's played without spectators.
"Steve Stricker, the American captain, wants fans of course because it's going to help his team, because 99 per cent of them are going to be American fans," Harrington added. "It would be an advantage for Padraig [Harrington] not to have fans there.
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"When you've got three of the top four players in the world saying 'we need fans', yes that's probably enough."