With its late September 2020 date and a summer of potential progress toward fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the Ryder Cup became the one major golf event many hoped could avoid being impacted by COVID-19. But as the prospect of allowing fans to attend the match at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis., dimmed and resistance from players toward competing without spectators grew, the inevitable will become official on Wednesday.
The Ryder Cup has been postponed until 2021 and the Presidents Cup moved to 2022, sources have told Golf Digest. An official announcement from the PGA of America, PGA Tour and European Tour will come in a joint press conference later this morning.
Though professional golf has returned in the United States with the PGA Tour resuming competition in June, safety measures have kept fans from attending events, and it appears due to the virus’ spread across the country that stance will continue for the foreseeable future. In April, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh confirmed his organization was exploring the prospect of a fan-less Ryder Cup. However, players from both sides—particularly Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka—were vocal in their opposition to hosting an event sans spectators.
But the Ryder Cup’s financial importance to both the PGA of America and European Tour complicated matters, as postponing the event could have major implications on both institutions. This is especially true of the Euro Tour; CEO Keith Pelley already warned things could be radically different when the tour restarts this month due to new budget constraints.
There was also the matter of coordinating the move with the PGA Tour. While the tour does not operate or oversee the Ryder Cup, it does run the Presidents Cup, the biennial match between United States and International players outside of Europe. To move the Ryder Cup back required the tour signing off on delaying the 2021 Presidents Cup, set for Quail Hollow in Charlotte, to 2022.
The Ryder Cup’s postponement will have a domino effect on the both competitions. The Ryder Cup will return to an “odd year” cadence, which is how the event was held from its founding in 1927 to 1999. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States pushed the 2001 event to 2002, and it has stayed on an even-year rhythm since.
The 2021 Ryder Cup will take the Presidents Cup dates (Sept. 30-Oct. 3), with the 2022 competition set the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome moving to 2023.