If there’s a Ryder Cup in 2020, there’s a chance it goes on without fans

Fleetwood Ryder Cup

Tommy Fleetwood celebrates the European Ryder Cup team's victory in Paris in 2018.

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If a Ryder Cup takes place this fall, the PGA of America is considering the option of holding it without fans.

PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh joined “Talking Golf with Ann Liguori” on WFAN in New York on Sunday and said the PGA of America is mulling the idea of a fan-less Ryder Cup if the current environment under the COVID-19 pandemic calls for it.

“[Ryder Cups] are pretty unique, and the fans are the Ryder Cup to a certain degree,” Waugh said. “It is hard to image one without fans. We have begun to talk about whether you can create some virtual fan experience, and we are going to try and be as creative as we can.

“To be determined, frankly, whether you’d hold it without fans or not,” he continued. “For the Ryder Cup it’s particularly important, so we will be very careful about that. It’s a very unique thing, and I think if we can pull it off this year it will be an amazing exclamation point to the year.”

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The Ryder Cup is scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis., which is now the week before the rescheduled U.S. Open at Winged Foot on Sept. 17-20. Last month The Telegraph reported the Ryder Cup was expected to be postponed, but European captain Padraig Harrington contradicted that report, saying, “There’s no change to the situation at all at this stage. I know there’s been some rumors and things like that; they had to put out a statement that there’s no change, but there is definitely no change.”

Last week the PGA Tour released its updated schedule for the 2019-20 season. The Ryder Cup date remained the same, although the Tour did say that at least the first four events back will be played without fans, beginning with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 11-14. Will things change and we see a Ryder Cup with fans several months later? We’ll wait and see.

“It would be an amazing moment I think, not only for the game, but for the whole sports world, if we can pull it off with fans,” Waugh said. “That’s certainly our hope. That’s our plan.”

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Golf.com Editor

Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com, the site’s primary homepage editor and the edit team’s on-site lead during major-tournament weeks. He plans the site’s daily coverage, marquee story placement and long-term content rollout for magazine pieces and special projects. He writes for both the website and magazine, edits and assigns stories. Berhow also contributes to podcasts and appears on camera for a variety of digital programming. The Minnesota native attended Minnesota State in Mankato.