Ryder Cup organisers have agreed to postpone the biennial matches between Europe and the United States of America by a year to 2021 after recognising it would not be possible to safely accommodate fans at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin this September.
Making the announcement on Wednesday as a collective, the PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe, and the PGA Tour’s decision to send the Ryder Cup back to an odd-numbered year means Ireland’s hosting of the event at Adare Manor has also been put back from 2026 to 2027.
The decision to postpone this year’s 43rd Ryder Cup, which had been scheduled for September 22-27, until September 21-26, 2021, was applauded by both team captains given the backdrop of a pronounced spike in Covid-19 cases across the United States, the record daily spike in Wisconsin of 738 new cases reported on July 4, and the difficulty of having spectators on-site at Whistling Straits in a little more than two months’ time.
There have long been misgivings about playing a Ryder Cup behind closed doors and Europe skipper Pádraig Harrington recognised that when said: “Rescheduling the Ryder Cup was never going to be an easy decision given the many factors to take into consideration. But I believe it is the right assessment given the unprecedented circumstances we are facing at this time.
“When you think of the Ryder Cup you think of the distinctive atmosphere generated by the spectators, such as around the first tee at Le Golf National two years ago. If that cannot be responsibly recreated at Whistling Straits in September, then it is correct that we all wait until it can be.
I know, right now, that September 2021 feels like a long time away. But it will come around quickly and I guarantee that the European players and I will be ready when it does.
US captain Steve Stricker, who was looking forward to hosting the event in his home state, said: “While it is disappointing that the Ryder Cup won’t be played this year, the decision to reschedule is the right thing to do under the circumstances.
“At the end of the day, we want to stage a Ryder Cup that will rival all other Ryder Cups in my home state of Wisconsin, and now we have the opportunity to showcase the event as it was meant to be seen.”
Organisers said they were putting public health and safety first as they also announced the knock-on effect would mean the postponement of the 2021 Presidents Cup matches between the USA and the International team excluding Europeans would be put back to September 2022 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.
PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh added: “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.
“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. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call.
“We are grateful to Commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners at the PGA Tour for their flexibility and generosity in the complex task of shifting the global golf calendar.
“As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can to safeguard public health is what matters most. The spectators who support both the US and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option.”
The shift back to odd years, having played in even years since the 2001 Ryder Cup was postponed by a year following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA, mean the next matches on European soil will now be in 2023 at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome with Adare Manor in Co. Limerick playing host in 2027 after Bethpage Black on New York’s Long Island stages the event in 2025.
Organisers said tickets purchased for the 2020 Ryder Cup via rydercup.com would be automatically valid for the corresponding day or days in 2021 and refunds would be facilitated for those unable to attend the new dates.