Recent speculation around the 2020 Ryder Cup has focused on such questions as whether fans would be allowed and, if so, how many.
It appears those questions are now moot. The 2020 Ryder Cup will not be held at all.
According to a story Monday in The Guardian, an official announcement will come next week that the biennial competition, pegged for September at Whistling Straits, is being pushed back to 2021, with the Wisconsin course staying on as host.
Given health and safety concerns around the coronavirus, and the fact that holding a spectator-less Ryder Cup was “never a serious option,” the article said, “postponement is now seen as the most responsible solution.”
Reached by GOLF.com, a spokesperson for the PGA of America, which runs the Ryder Cup jointly with the European Tour, declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for Destination Kohler, the resort that is home to Whistling Straits.
As of this week, there were no signs at Whistling Straits that any work on grandstands or other tournament infrastructure had begun, as would be expected around this time if all were moving forward normally.
News of the postponement is the latest major wrinkle in a 2020 golf season already set askew by a pandemic that has forced the cancelation of marquee events, including the British Open, and the rescheduling of others. Amid all the flux, the Ryder Cup was the biggest event whose date remained unaltered, listed on the calendar for Sept. 22-27.
For many observers, the only question seemed to be: what would the atmosphere be like? Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka were among the players who voiced displeasure at the prospect of staging an event as famously electric as the Ryder Cup without fans. As a middle ground, event organizers had discussed the possibility of the teams competing in front of a reduced number of spectators. But, according to the Guardian story, the risks posed by the virus, combined with ongoing travel restrictions, removed that option from the board.
The Ryder Cup was postponed once before, after the attacks of September 11, and has been held on even years ever since. With the postponement of the 2020 event, the Guardian article said, the event will return to its odd-year rhythm. Following the 2021 Ryder Cup, the next installment of the competition will take place in Italy, in 2023.