Common consensus is Ryder Cup won't happen without fans – Harrington


Padraig Harrington says he has held regular talks with Ryder Cup organisers over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

The “common consensus” is that the Ryder Cup will not be held unless fans are able to attend, says Team Europe captain Padraig Harrington.

The biennial event is still scheduled to take place from 25-27 September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, USA.

This year’s four golf majors, including The Open Championship, have already been cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nobody wants to see the Ryder Cup played without the fans being there,” Harrington told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“There’s no doubt that it makes the tournament so much better. I think the common consensus now is the Ryder Cup will not be played unless the fans are there.

“Non-golfers and golfers around the world watch the Ryder Cup because of the tension that’s created by the spectators.”

European golfers Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari agree it would be difficult for the tournament to go ahead without fans, with Englishman Fleetwood saying the event “wouldn’t be the same” without them.

Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari on if the Ryder Cup would work behind closed doors.

The golfing calendar has already been significantly altered because of the disruption caused by coronavirus.

The 149th Open, due to take place in July at Royal St George’s in Kent, has been cancelled and will now be hosted by the venue in 2021. However, all three of the majors hosted on American soil are still hoping to go ahead.

The Masters has been put back from April to November, while the US PGA Championship is scheduled for August.

The US Open, at Winged Foot, New York, is being moved from June to September, a week before the Ryder Cup is scheduled to start.

Harrington says he has held regular talks with Ryder Cup organisers over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including the possibility of a postponement, but is continuing to plan for the event as normal.

“I’m not saying it hasn’t been in doubt. I’m sure they’ve looked at alternatives and things like that,” said the Irishman.

“But the only reason for the Ryder Cup not being there, and that’s outside everybody’s hands, is the coronavirus. It’s not something that’s within our control.

“There are bigger things too than the Ryder Cup. You know it’s a big deal in golf but we have to see the bigger picture.

“I hope that we get our chance to play. I think it’s something that can bring people together and is something to look forward to and enjoy.”

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