The 2020 Ryder Cup, initially scheduled for September 25 – 27, will be postponed due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns. The major golf tournament is expected to be slated for 2021, but the PGA of America and the European Tour has yet to announce the move formally. Golf Digest reported on players’ hesitation at playing the famous event without spectators, which was a decision reflected by the captains of both Team USA (Steve Stricker) and Team Europe (Padraig Harrington).
The last time the Ryder Cup tournament was scheduled for an odd year was two weeks after the 2001 September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. If the Ryder Cup is played in 2021, it is expected that the tournament will remain in odd years; the effect of this would push back the 2022 Ryder Cup in Rome’s Marco Simone Country Club to 2023, with the following event held in 2025.
Other major golf tournaments may subsequently be pushed back as a result; this includes the 2021 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina. The Presidents Cup is scheduled for 30 September to 03 October 2021. The decision to postpone the 2020 Ryder Cup is seen as inevitable by many in the golfing world. The USA’s political and economic crisis as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing ‘Black Lives Matter’ political unrest, coupled with the scheduled November elections, has created a haze of uneasiness in the States.
A benefit for Ireland’s Adare Manor will arise if the Ryder Cup moves back to odd years. The change back to uneven years would see the Co. Limerick Resort, owned by Irish American Thomas Kane, host the Ryder Cup in 2027. That would see the Ryder Cup in Ireland exactly 100 years after the event was first played, creating a heightened sense of history.
The Ryder Cup is traditionally known as a spectator event, where playing without fans would defeat the purpose of the event, according to golf heavyweights Rory McIlroy and many other players. Among other concerns for players is the Covid-19 quarantine rules and they will be forced to undertake if flying internationally, whether into or out of the USA or Europe. At the RBC Heritage, player Nick Watney was forced to withdraw after the second round because he tested positive to Covid-19.
The pending announcement by the PGA of America and European Tour is likely to be another thorn in the side of a post-Covid recovery for golf in 2020, as the USA’s turmoil runs rampant in many states.