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Jul 9th, 2020

Should the Ryder Cup have been postponed?

On balance I'd say no

Padraig Harrington summed it up well a while back when he said the players "might have to take one for the team". The problem is it became clear that many of the players were not prepared to 'take one' as he put it and the lack of an adoring crowd became the deciding factor.

The COVID-19 has cost ten of thousands their lives and impacted all areas of life, including the sports world. Sacrifices have been made for the better good but it seems the Ryder Cup was too sacred an event to add to the list.
We all would have loved to see a 'normal' Ryder Cup with the cacophony of the vast crowds and the chants of "U-S-A" and the like. However, if there was no way to accommodate any form of a crowd, the match should have gone ahead behind closed doors.
From a safety point of view, a match between two teams of twelve plus caddies would have been a stroll in the park compared to a PGA Tour event. The team selection process would have provided some headaches but no more than those a postponement throws up.

Financially it is a wrong decision for the various bodies involved. The PGA of America will have to wait another year for their four-yearly windfall as will the European Tour and the PGAs of Europe who will now have to stretch their budgets out to 2023.
Then there are the knock-on effects as the Presidents Cup which is growing in popularity has to shift back a year as well and as it stands the Ryder Cup will now be pitched against the Solheim Cup every two years. Although here's a thought a combined Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup event?
There is also now a gap in the schedule that might have been filled by another event. Perhaps the Open might have been able to go ahead in late September?
There are positives such as the Ryder Cup after next year no longer falling the same year as the Olympic games but leaving the crowd issue to one side the negatives far outweigh any positives.
Of course, there is always the chance, god forbid, that COVID-19 will still be with us in a year and the postponement will have been for nought. 
Other sports have had to make do behind closed doors and did not have the luxury of postponing events given the economics involved and the Ryder Cup should not have been an exception.
I am sure there will be howls from the golfing fans that it had to be postponed and it would not be the Ryder Cup without fans but sadly I think those running golf have bottled it.
Desperate times require desperate measures and tough decisions made. One such decision should have been to go ahead with the Ryder Cup. 
It may not have pleased the players and fifty-odd thousand who wanted to be at the event but millions would flock to watch the action on TV and the game as a whole would have profited.

TAGS: Eds Letter, Ryder Cup, Padraig Harrington, Steve Stricker, 2020