Ryder Cup postponed due to COVID-19

Ryder Cup organisers have today (Wednesday) announced that this year’s edition of the golf showpiece will be rescheduled to 2021 after conceding that it could not be staged safely with spectators in attendance.

The announcement from the PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and PGA Tour came amid mounting speculation concerning the 43rd Ryder Cup, which was originally scheduled for September 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

It has now become the latest major sporting event to fall victim to COVID-19, with new dates assigned of September 21-26, 2021. Organisers said the decision to postpone was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County.

In April, PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh said the tournament could be held without spectators. Reduced attendances of around 25,000 fans per day was also thought to have been weighed up before today’s announcement.

Waugh said today: “Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. 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.

“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 U.S. and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option.”

With the decision to play the 2020 Ryder Cup in September 2021, all subsequent Ryder Cups after Whistling Straits will also shift to odd years, realigning the tournament outside of summer Olympic Games years.

This means future editions of the Ryder Cup will be staged as follows: 2023/Marco Simone Golf and Country Club (Rome, Italy); 2025/Bethpage Black (Farmingdale, New York); 2027/Adare Manor (County Limerick, Ireland); 2029/Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, Minnesota); 2031/Europe (to be determined); 2033/The Olympic Club (San Francisco); 2035/Europe (to be determined); 2037/Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Maryland).

Organisers said tickets purchased for the 2020 Ryder Cup via rydercup.com will be automatically valid for the corresponding day(s) in 2021. In the coming weeks, the PGA of America will contact those who secured tickets via rydercup.com to facilitate refunds for fans unable to attend in 2021.

However, those who have purchased tickets and hospitality packages on the secondary market must contact that specific site directly. The PGA of America said it will be unable to process refunds for those purchases.

Guy Kinnings, Europe’s Ryder Cup director, said: “The Ryder Cup is rightly celebrated as one of the world’s greatest sporting occasions, made special and totally unique in our sport by the fervent atmosphere created by the passionate spectators of both sides.

“While that point is significant, it is not as important as the health of the spectators which, in these difficult times, is always the main consideration. We considered all options including playing with a limited attendance but all our stakeholders agreed this would dilute the magic of this great occasion.”

Along with the Ryder Cup, fellow team event the Presidents Cup has seen its next edition, initially slated for September 30 to October 3, 2021 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, rescheduled to September 19-25, 2022.

Image: Gary Kellner/PGA