News & Opinion

PGA of America postpones Ryder Cup until 2021

Whistling Straits par 5 16th hole
Lake Michigan frames the par-5 16th hole at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis., the site of the next Ryder Cup.

Another prominent golf tournament falls victim to the coronavirus pandemic as the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits moves back a year, bumping the PGA Tour’s Presidents Cup matches to 2022

In confirming perhaps the worst-kept secret in golf, the PGA of America announced Wednesday that the Ryder Cup will not be played this year.

The PGA, in a joint news conference with representatives of the European Tour and the PGA Tour, cited the need for the biennial matches to accommodate fans amid the social-distancing concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. The matches between the U.S. and Europe were scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. The 2021 Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 24-26. By pushing the Ryder Cup into 2021, the PGA Tour agreed to move the Presidents Cup, a biennial match between the U.S. and Internationals that will be played at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., into 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,” said Seth Waugh, the PGA of America's chief executive officer. “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."

Added Guy Kinnings, Europe’s Ryder Cup director: “The Ryder Cup is rightly celebrated as one of the world’s greatest sporting occasions, made special and totally unique in our sport by the fervent atmosphere created by the passionate spectators of both sides.

“While that point is significant, it is not as important as the health of the spectators which, in these difficult times, is always the main consideration. We considered all options, including playing with a limited attendance, but all our stakeholders agreed this would dilute the magic of this great occasion."

The move had been widely anticipated as the PGA and European tours revised their schedules after play was suspended on both tours in March because of COVID-19. With this week’s Workday Charity Open in Dublin, Ohio, the PGA Tour will play its fifth tournament since the season restart. The European Tour will resume play this week with the Austrian Open.

By moving the Ryder Cup to 2021, all subsequent Ryder Cups after Whistling Straits also will shift to odd-numbered years: 2023 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club (Rome, Italy); 2025 at Bethpage Black (Farmingdale, N.Y.); 2027 at Adare Manor (County Limerick, Ireland); 2029 at Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, Minn.); 2031 in Europe (site to be determined); 2033 at The Olympic Club (San Francisco); 2035 at Europe (site to be determined); 2037 at Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Md.).

The Europeans have dominated the Americans in the Ryder Cup in recent decades. Europe has won nine of the past 11 matches, trimming the U.S. lead in the series to 42-26-14.

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