The seemingly inevitable has been confirmed. After strong rumours last week of an official announcement being in the offing, the PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and PGA Tour have today published a statement putting the golfing world out of it's misery.
The 2020 Ryder Cup, set to be played from September 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, has been rescheduled for September 21-26, 2021.
This is not the only news however, with the Ryder Cup being rescheduled, the Presidents Cup has followed suit. Initially due to be played from September 30-October 3, 2021 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, the event will now be played September 19-25, 2022.
The reason behind it? I think that goes without saying - the impact of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. The governing bodies and powers that be have taken guidance from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County, deciding that the health and well-being of all involved is the top priority and it is not worth the risk.
Guy Kinnings, Europe’s Ryder Cup Director, said:
“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.
“We therefore stand beside our partners at the PGA of America in the decision to postpone the Ryder Cup for a year and join with them in extending our thanks to the PGA Tour for their willingness to move the dates of the Presidents Cup.
“We also thank NBC, Sky and our many broadcast partners around the globe, in addition to the worldwide partners of this great event, whose support and commitment are second to none.”
Going forward, all subsequent Ryder Cups after Whistling Straits will also shift back to odd years. The schedule for the next 20 years now looks like this:
2023 - Marco Simone Golf and Country Club (Rome, Italy),
2025 - Bethpage Black (Farmingdale, New York),
2027 - Adare Manor (County Limerick, Ireland),
2029 - Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, Minnesota),
2031 - Europe (to be determined),
2033 - The Olympic Club (San Francisco),
2035 - Europe (to be determined),
2037 - Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Maryland).
Pádraig Harrington, Captain of the European Ryder Cup Team, commented:
“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.
So what happens to everyone had a ticket to the Ryder Cup? The Ryder Cup has confirmed that tickets purchased for the 2020 Ryder Cup via rydercup.com will be automatically valid for the corresponding day(s) in 2021. Which is a relief and is as expected.
It has also been announced that over the coming weeks, the PGA of America will contact those who secured tickets via rydercup.com to facilitate refunds for fans that are unable to attend in 2021.
Further details can be found by the Ryder Cup website.
These are undoubtedly sad times as we see yet another of sport's most cherished events rescheduled due to the ongoing effects and dangers that surround COVID-19. However, given the huge amount of crowd participation in this particular event, it feels like the right decision.
Protecting not just the safety of fans and players involved in the event, but the reputation, atmosphere and magic of the Ryder Cup is also paramount.
See you in 2021, Whistling Straits. We're already counting down the days...