Since the PGA Tour returned to action a month ago, it has hosted multiple events, all of them without spectators. For the 2020 Ryder Cup, which was scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits and is a very fan-centric event, that was a bridge too far. According to ESPN, the PGA of America and European Tour will make the announcement tomorrow on the postponement of the 2020 Ryder Cup and its delay until 2021.
The history of the Ryder Cup and missed events
The Ryder Cup first started back in 1927 and has been played every other year alternating between courses in the United States and Europe. The event is jointly administered by the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe.
The only times the event has not been played happened between 1939 and 1945 due to World War II. Four Cups were missed during that time period and it still stands as the only time the event has been outright cancelled.
In 2001, the event was postponed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was originally scheduled to be played just a few weeks after the attack. Due to the overwhelming gravity of the situation, the U.S. Ryder Cup team told tournament organizers it would not be able to play the event as scheduled. Organizers moved the event to 2002. As a result of the schedule shift, the President’s Cup was also pushed back to the following year.
Players expressing concerns of playing without fans
In recent weeks, with uncertainty growing about the 2020 Ryder Cup due to the pandemic, numerous players expressed their concerns playing the event without any fans and encouraged the respective Tours to postpone the event until 2021. There was no one more vocal about it than the world’s No. 1-ranked player Rory McIlroy.
“My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen,” McIlroy told BBC Sport. “I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special.
“The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup,” McIlroy said matter-of-factly. “I see it being pushed back until 2021 and, honestly, I think that will be the right call.”
2020 Ryder Cup officially postponed to 2021
Apparently, officials for both the PGA Tour and Ryder Cup Europe agreed with McIlroy’s assessment of the ever-evolving situation. According to ESPN, a source said the event will be delayed until the same timeframe in 2021. Both tours are expected to officially make the announcement on Wednesday morning.
Several British newspapers reported weeks ago that the Ryder Cup would be postponed, but there had to be discussions and negotiations between the multiple entities involved to not only agree to the decision, but come up with a plan going forward.
“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes things that people don’t know,” the source told ESPN. “They have to look out for the best of each organization. I think there is way more to it than people would realize.”
The Presidents Cup was scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021, at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Ryder Cup will replace that event and the Presidents Cup will shift to 2022. The 2022 Ryder Cup, scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2022, in Rome will now be pushed back to 2023.