The PGA of America and European Tour have confirmed postponement of the 2020 Ryder Cup by 12 months. The biennial meeting of Europe and the United States will remain in “odd” years after Whistling Straits hosts the next edition from 24-26 September 2021.
Originally set to start on 25 September this year, health and safety concerns relating to Covid-19 triggered the delay, revealed by the Guardian last week.
“Rescheduling the Ryder Cup was never going to be an easy decision given the many factors to take into consideration,” said Europe’s captain, Padraig Harrington. “But I believe it is the right assessment given the unprecedented circumstances we are facing at this time.
“I know, right now, that September 2021 feels like a long time away. But it will come around quickly and I guarantee that the European players and I will be ready when it does.”
The announcement had been anticipated but was briefly delayed after talks over the Presidents Cup – the meeting of the US and international team – which was due to take place next year. The event has also now been pushed back, to 2022, after an agreement with the PGA Tour.
“The decision to reschedule the Ryder Cup was made based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County, with the health and wellbeing of all involved as the top priority,” said a statement.
Despite speculation to the contrary, playing the Ryder Cup without spectators was never considered viable. The organisers harboured firm hope of the event taking place in front of reduced galleries as recently as May.
Seth Waugh, the PGA of America’s chief executive, admitted the scale of infrastructure needed for a Ryder Cup means sufficient notice had to be given for postponement. “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,” Waugh added. “Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call.
“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.”
Italy will host the Ryder Cup of 2023. Adare Manor in Ireland will become an accidental beneficiary of date switches. The 2026 staging, pushed to 2027, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Ryder Cup.