In a golf season unlike any before it, one of the few big-time events unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic was the Ryder Cup — until now.
The PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe announced Wednesday morning that the biennial team event between the U.S. and Europe will be postponed to 2021. The announcement comes after months of speculation that the event would be pushed back by a year.
This is the first time golf’s premier team event has been postponed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The Ryder Cup was scheduled to be played Sept. 22-27 at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis., and will now be played Sept. 21-26, 2021.
Because of the rescheduled Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., will be pushed back until Sept. 19-25, 2022.
“Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said in a statement. “It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible.”
In March, the Telegraph first reported the Ryder Cup was expected to be delayed a year.
There was much speculation about the possibility of the Ryder Cup being played with limited or no spectators, with captains from both sides balking at the idea. Players had their doubts as well.
“I personally don’t want to play if there’s no fans — I don’t see a point in playing it,” Brooks Koepka told Golf Channel back in May. “The fans make that event.”
Now the focus for each side shifts to the future as the two sides have extended time to prepare for the event. Previously modified qualifying criteria will be revisited “in the near future,” according to the release.
Europe currently holds the Ryder Cup following their 17.5-10.5 win in Paris in 2018.