The 2020 Ryder Cup has been silenced.
Because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the PGA of America and European Tour are expected to jointly announce at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday that the Ryder Cup will not take place this year, according to ESPN.
The 43rd biennial bout between the U.S. and Europe was scheduled for Sept. 25-27 along the Lake Michigan shores of Wisconsin at Whistling Straits. The two will meet at the same location and according to ESPN, citing an anonymous source, they will play September 30 to October 3, which was supposed to be the dates for the 2021 Presidents Cup.
The PGA of America and European Tour had been considering a variety of options, including playing this year without fans or with limited spectators. But high-profile players voiced concern over playing a Ryder Cup without fans.
“Not a Ryder Cup,” world No. 1 Rory McIlroy said in a TaylorMade podcast when asked what a Ryder Cup would be without fans. McIlroy has played in the Ryder Cup five times. “That’s from a European, going to America, knowing that I’m going to get abuse. Obviously it would be better for Europeans to play without fans because we wouldn’t deal with some of the stuff that you have to put up with, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be a great spectacle. There would be no atmosphere.
“So if it came to whether they had to choose between not playing the Ryder Cup of playing it without fans, I would say just delay it a year.”
Added four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, who has played in the past two editions: “The fans make that event. The fans make that special. If we’re not playing in front of fans, it’s just like us playing a game in Florida. There’s no fist pumping there. There’s no excitement. The fans create the excitement for the Ryder Cup.”
Koepka added that some players may have boycotted if the event was held in September without fans.
Travel restrictions also may have impacted the qualify of the teams if this year’s matches were to have been played as scheduled.
The Ryder Cup postponement necessitated the PGA Tour to move the 2021 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte to 2022 at the same venue.
Also on the postponement list is the 44th edition of the Ryder Cup, which was scheduled for 2022 in Italy at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome. That match will now be held in 2023 at the same venue.
The COVID pandemic will again alter the qualifying system. Because COVID shut down the qualifying system for three months, U.S. captain Steve Stricker was given two extra discretionary selections – from four to six, which is half the team.
Qualifying for the U.S. also had been extended through the BMW Championship August 27-30, the second of three FedExCup Playoffs events. That would have meant only one major championship – the Aug. 6-9 PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco – would have been included in this year’s segment of qualifying. The U.S. Open at Winged Foot in New York was postponed to the week before the original Ryder Cup date, and the Masters in Georgia was postponed to November.
Europe revised its qualifying process, as well, with captain Padraig Harrington having his discretionary picks dropped from four to three. Europe would be comprised of three captain’s picks, four players from the Europe Points List, and five from the World Points List. The European Tour, however, hasn’t played since the Qatar Masters the first week of March and is set to resume in July, thus players could only accumulated points on the World list. Top players including Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood have not played since March.
Europe is in possession of the 17-inches tall, 4-pound gold trophy as a result of pasting the Americans, 17½-10½, at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018. Europe has won nine of the most recent 12 contests, with the U.S. victorious only in 2016, 2008 and 1999.