While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has paved the way for a global shutdown on all sporting activity, September’s Ryder Cup, somehow, is still scheduled to go ahead.
The prestigious golf event is set to take place this year at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Wisconsin, however, many are calling for the event to be either postponed or played behind closed doors, without spectators.
However, Irish major champion, Graeme McDowell, believes the Ryder Cup is one of the only tournaments in golf, alongside the President’s Cup, that doesn’t work unless fans are able to attend.
“Obviously looking towards the Ryder Cup this year at the end of September, it’s still on the schedule somehow,” McDowell told RTÉ2fm’s Game On.
“Padraig Harrington’s the captain and I’d love an opportunity to play for Padraig, [and in] another Ryder Cup, it would be very special.
“There is a bit of a debate going on right now whether that Ryder Cup could be played without fans.
“It would be an incredible prospect to see a Ryder Cup played behind closed doors. My own personal opinion is that the Ryder Cup, of all the golf tournaments in the world, probably the only one – that and the President’s Cup – that doesn’t work without fans. It really brings so much to the atmosphere and they are what it’s all about.
“The partisan nature of the fans, the home advantage, the noise, the Ryder Cup for me just doesn’t work without that fan interaction.”
McDowell did add, however, that if it were to go ahead without fans, it would only be because of the TV spectacle that it is.
“It would stand alone as a phenomenal golf event but there is just something interesting when you walk onto that first tee at a Ryder Cup and you stare across at the guy you’re playing against or the two guys you’re playing against,” he added.
“The crowd just bring the buzz and I’ve never hit tee shots in my life feeling the way I feel at a Ryder Cup. You’re just so fired up and you’re so pumped up.”
While many athletes remain in the dark as to when their sporting schedule will return to normality, McDowell and his fellow golfers have been given some clarity with the news that the PGA has given a concrete return date of June 8, for events to be played behind closed doors.
McDowell admits it is good having a schedule to work towards.
“I was on permanent holiday for a little while and last few weeks I’ve straightened it out a little bit. I’ve been training a little bit and practising and now that we have a schedule starting to lay out in front of us, it’s seven weeks until I jump on a plane hopefully to go and play the first event in Dallas.”