Ryder Cup: Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker back decision to postpone event
"September 2021 feels like a long time away. But it will come around quickly and I guarantee that the European players and I will be ready when it does"
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 08/07/20 4:40pm
Padraig Harrington agreed with the decision to postpone the 43rd Ryder Cup for a year due to the "unprecedented circumstances" caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Harrington had previously stated that the players might have to "take one for the team" and be prepared for a contest without spectators at Whistling Straits in September.
But Ryder Cup organisers, the PGA of America and the European Tour, have now confirmed that the event has been postponed until the autumn of 2021, with subsequent Ryder Cups all being move back to odd-numbered years.
"Rescheduling the Ryder Cup was never going to be an easy decision given the many factors to take into consideration," said European team captain Harrington.
"But I believe it is the right assessment given the unprecedented circumstances we are facing at this time.
"When you think of the Ryder Cup you think of the distinctive atmosphere generated by the spectators, such as around the first tee at Le Golf National two years ago. If that cannot be responsibly recreated at Whistling Straits in September, then it is correct that we all wait until it can be.
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"I know, right now, that September 2021 feels like a long time away. But it will come around quickly and I guarantee that the European players and I will be ready when it does."
Harrington's opposite number, and Wisconsin native, Steve Stricker, stated last month that it would be "a crime" to go ahead with the Ryder Cup with no spectators permitted to attend.
Stricker later insisted he would be happy for the event to be given the green light if they could guarantee Whistling Straits would be at 50 per cent crowd capacity, but even that target has been deemed as "not realistic" by PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
"While it is disappointing that The Ryder Cup won't be played this year, the decision to reschedule is the right thing to do under the circumstances," said Stricker.
"At the end of the day, we want to stage a Ryder Cup that will rival all other Ryder Cups in my home state of Wisconsin, and now we have the opportunity to showcase the event as it was meant to be seen."
Organisers also confirmed that all tickets for the 2020 Ryder Cup purchased online via rydercup.com will be valid for the corresponding days next year, while there will also be the offer of a full refund.