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Golf

Ryder Cup may have to "take one for the team" and play without fans

European captain Padraig Harrington says playing the Ryder Cup this year without spectators would...



Ryder Cup may have to
Golf

Ryder Cup may have to "take one for the team" and play without fans

European captain Padraig Harrington says playing the Ryder Cup this year without spectators would not be in the best interests of the event but it could be in the best interests of making sure it goes ahead in 2020.

Three of golf's four majors have been postponed until later in the year due to the coronavirus while Shane Lowry will have to wait until next summer to defend his Open title.

The Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin in September and world number one Rory McIlroy said earlier this month that "a Ryder Cup without fans is not a Ryder Cup."

Harrington told the Times: "Everyone wants fans to be there, but the question is does sport need the Ryder Cup and should the Ryder Cup take one for the team?

"Would it be for the greater good of sport? It wouldn’t be in the Ryder Cup’s best interests but it could be in the best interests of enough people who want to see a big sporting occasion on TV."

The PGA Tour plans to restart its season in June with the first four competitions closed to the public and Harrington said the PGA of America and European Tour would make a decision on the Ryder Cup after studying those events.

"If those PGA Tour events go well, behind closed doors, then we’re far more likely to see a Ryder Cup as normal.

"It massively increases the odds of being with fans because by September we may have moved on.

"I assume there’s no chance of a vaccine (by September) so we’re looking at how well contained it is by then and how treatable it is."

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Coronavirus European Tour Golf PGA Tour Padraig Harrington Ryder Cup Whistling Straits