Ryder Cup postponed to 2021
The 43rd Ryder Cup is now scheduled to be played from September 24-26, 2021 at Whistling Straits
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 08/07/20 8:27pm
The Ryder Cup will not take place in September after tournament organisers confirmed the event has been postponed for 12 months.
Following widespread speculation over the logistics of staging the contest in Wisconsin this autumn, tournament organisers have decided that playing the Ryder Cup without spectators at Whistling Straits is "not a realistic option".
As a result of the postponement, the 44th Ryder Cup in Italy will now move back to 2023 and all subsequent contests will move back to odd-numbered years, as it was before the 9/11 terrorist attacks forced the 2001 contest to be delayed for a year.
After much collaboration between The PGA of America, The European Tour and the PGA Tour, it was also confirmed that the Presidents Cup will revert back to even-numbered years, with next year's event at Quail Hollow moved back to September 2022.
European Ryder Cup director, Guy Kinnings, said: "The Ryder Cup is rightly celebrated as one of the world's greatest sporting occasions, made special and totally unique in our sport by the fervent atmosphere created by the passionate spectators of both sides.
"While that point is significant, it is not as important as the health of the spectators which, in these difficult times, is always the main consideration. We considered all options including playing with a limited attendance but all our stakeholders agreed this would dilute the magic of this great occasion.
"We therefore stand beside our partners at the PGA of America in the decision to postpone The Ryder Cup for a year and join with them in extending our thanks to the PGA Tour for their willingness to help by moving the date of the Presidents Cup.
"We also thank NBC, Sky Sports and our many broadcast partners around the globe, in addition to the worldwide partners of this great event, whose support and commitment are second to none."
Many leading players had expressed their reluctance to compete in the Ryder Cup behind closed doors, including each of the world's top three players at the time in Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka - all of whom had repeatedly called for a postponement.
Koepka even hinted at boycotting the competition if it went ahead without a crowd, saying: "The Ryder Cup is a true sporting event. It's different than any other golf tournament we play. If we can have fans, that's perfect, and if we can't, it just seems kind of like an exhibition, which it kind of already is. I just don't want to play it without fans."
European captain Padraig Harrington had maintained the players may have to "take one for the team" and be prepared to play without fans, but his opposite number, and Wisconsin native, Steve Stricker, stated earlier this month that it would be "a crime" to go ahead with the Ryder Cup with no spectators permitted.
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 that appears an optimistic target in the current climate.
"Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host The 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits," said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
"It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call.
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"As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can to safeguard public health is what matters most. The spectators who support both the US and European sides are what make The Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option.
"We stand united with our partners from Ryder Cup Europe, the NBC Sports Group, Sky and our other broadcast partners around the world. We look forward to delivering The Ryder Cup's renowned pageantry, emotion and competitive drama to a global audience in 2021."