No crowds, no Ryder Cup, suggests European captain Harrington

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Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington believes the biennial match with the United States should be postponed if fans are ordered to stay away due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 48-year-old Irishman told the BBC on Wednesday the febrile atmosphere created by the opposing sets of fans was part of the fabric of the event.

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“Nobody wants to see the Ryder Cup played without the fans being there,” said Harrington.

“There’s no doubt that it makes the tournament so much better.

“I think the common consensus now is the Ryder Cup will not be played unless the fans are there.

“Non-golfers and golfers around the world watch the Ryder Cup because of the tension that’s created by the spectators.”

This year’s edition is slated to take place from September 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, USA.

At present Europe are due to begin their defence of the trophy just a week after a re-arranged US Open.

The other two US-based majors The Masters and the PGA have also been postponed to November and August respectively.

The fourth major the British Open due to be played in July has been cancelled.

Harrington is a three-time major champion and part of six Ryder Cup teams finishing on the winning side on four occasions.

He said whether the Ryder Cup went ahead depended on something that was out of organisers control.

“I’m not saying it hasn’t been in doubt,” said Harrington.

“I’m sure they’ve looked at alternatives and things like that.

“But the only reason for the Ryder Cup not being there, and that’s outside everybody’s hands, is the coronavirus.

“It’s not something that’s within our control.

“There are bigger things too than the Ryder Cup.

“I hope that we get our chance to play.

“I think it’s something that can bring people together and is something to look forward to and enjoy.”

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