Delay Ryder Cup but can't play without fans, says Rory McIlroy

Updated: Apr 23, 2020, 08:28 IST | AFP | Los Angeles

For organisers of the Ryder Cup, which is due to take place at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin from September 25 to 27, that has included studying whether the tournament could be played without fans

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy on Tuesday added his voice to the chorus of players opposed to the idea of playing this year's Ryder Cup without spectators. With the global golf season in chaos due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the game's administrators are running through a range of possible scenarios as they attempt to plot a path back to competition. For organisers of the Ryder Cup, which is due to take place at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin from September 25 to 27, that has included studying whether the tournament could be played without fans.

PGA chief executive Seth Waugh revealed earlier this week that officials had looked at the possibility of creating a "virtual fan experience" for the fiercely competitive team clash between Europe and the United States. McIlroy, speaking during an Instagram live event, said he would rather see this year's event delayed for a year than played before empty galleries. "I have a pretty strong view on this. I get the financial implications for everyone involved—there's a lot that goes into putting on the Ryder Cup that people don't probably know or appreciate—but having a Ryder Cup without fans is not a Ryder Cup," McIlroy said.

"For me I would much rather they delay it until 2021 than play it at Whistling Straits without fans. And that's from a European going to America, knowing that I'm going to get abuse! Obviously it would be better for Europeans to play without fans because we wouldn't have to deal with some of the stuff that you have to put up with—but at the same time it's not a Ryder Cup.

"It wouldn't be a great spectacle, there'd be no atmosphere, so if it came to whether they had to choose between not playing the Ryder Cup or playing it without fans, I would say just delay it for a year and play it in 2021."

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