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Ryder Cup ‘set for postponement’

United States Captain Steve Stricker (L) and European Captain Padraig Harrington pose with the Ryder Cup during the 2020 Year to Go event at Whistling Straits (by Andrew Redington/Getty Images,)

Golf’s 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in the US state of Wisconsin is set to be postponed by a year, according to The Guardian, while the PGA of America has confirmed that the 2020 PGA Championship will be held behind closed doors.

The UK newspaper said the Ryder Cup announcement is expected next week, with the biennial clash between the United States and Europe currently scheduled for September 25-27. In April, PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh revealed that the tournament could be held without spectators, but the governing body, along with fellow organiser the European Tour, is said to have decided this isn’t an option.

The Guardian said work on building spectator infrastructure at Whistling Straits has not yet commenced in earnest, while a Ryder Cup held in front of reduced numbers of around 25,000 fans per day, is not now thought viable due to Covid-19 concerns. Ongoing travel restrictions are also said to be a consideration.

A move to 2021 would see a realignment for future Ryder Cups. Europe’s next tournament, due to be held at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, located 17km from the centre of Rome, will now take place in 2023, instead of 2022. Excepting next year’s tournament, the Ryder Cup’s broadcast partner in the US, NBC Sports, is said to be comfortable with a long-term move away from summer Olympic Games years.

In March, the PGA of America rejected a report that the Ryder Cup could be postponed. When contacted by Golf Digest the organisation offered no comment.

News of the Ryder Cup’s potential postponement came as the PGA of America and City of San Francisco yesterday (Monday) confirmed that the 2020 PGA Championship will be held without spectators on-site. The first major championship of 2020 for men’s golf is due to be held from August 3-9, at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Up to 40,000 spectators a day had been expected at TPC Harding Park and the move to a closed doors event was first reported last week. The decision to play without spectators was made in coordination with the state of California and city and county of San Francisco.

“We are both inspired and honoured to ‘play on’,” Waugh said. “In doing so, we will spotlight not only the beauty of TPC Harding Park, but the fortitude of San Francisco and its remarkable people. We’d like to thank the state of California and the city and county of San Francisco for being terrific partners in helping us get to this place.

“While the local community cannot be with us physically on-site, we will certainly carry their spirit of resilience and unity with us as we stage our major championship, on their behalf, for all the world to see and enjoy.”

The 2020 PGA Championship is set to be the first in the PGA of America’s landmark 11-year media rights agreement with CBS and ESPN. It will feature CBS Sports, ESPN and ESPN+ combining to deliver an unprecedented amount of broadcast and digital coverage.

Prior to its postponement due to Covid-19 on March 17, the PGA Championship was originally scheduled for play on May 14-17.