The Ryder Cup has been postponed for a year after organisers bowed to player power and accepted it would be stripped of its magic behind closed doors. World No 1 Rory McIlroy had led a chorus of calls for the contest to be put back because of the impact a contest with no crowd because of the threat of coronavirus would have on the spectacle.
While the PGA of America looked at hosting the event with a reduced attendance that option too was dismissed.
It will now be held at Whistling Straits on September 24-26, 2021.
“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,” said Europe’s Ryder Cup director Guy Kinnings.
“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.
“We therefore stand beside our partners at the PGA of America in the decision to postpone the Ryder Cup for a year.”
While Europe’s captain Pádraig Harrington will still have three wildcard selections towards his 12-man team, the qualification process will be tweaked. Points earned before the shutdown in March will be banked and added to points earned from January 1 2021.
Any points accrued in the intervening period either on the European Tour, which restarts in Austria on Thursday or the PGA Tour, which has been up and running for a month, will be discounted.
“I think the proposals that have been outlined today are fair to all players involved in the qualification process, whether they have already amassed points or will be looking to do so from next January onwards,” said Harrington.
“The 2020 season has already been heavily disrupted, and may continue to be further impacted, by a number of Covid-19 related issues in terms of travel restrictions, quarantine regulations and individual personal concerns.