Coronavirus: Team Europe captain Harrington determined for Ryder Cup to go ahead

By Peter Hanson 1 April 2020 3
Coronavirus: Team Europe captain Harrington determined for Ryder Cup to go ahead

Padraig Harrington insists the Ryder Cup must go ahead if possible and Europe's captain said he will pick all 12 players if that is what it takes for the event to take place.

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the sporting calendar, with the PGA and European Tours suspended.

Both the Masters and US PGA Championship have already been postponed, while it remains to be seen if the U.S. Open and The Open will go ahead.

Qualifying for the Ryder Cup has been compromised as a result and some have called for the September event to be put back by a year.

However, Harrington says the show must go on at Whistling Straits if the situation has improved enough by then.

"We're playing on, if at all possible, because the merit of getting out there and showcasing our sport far outweighs a perfect qualifying system," he told Sportsmail.

"It wouldn't worry me if we were the first tournament back and I had to go with 12 picks with no qualifying. In many ways, it would be perfect if the Ryder Cup was the first tournament back. 

"Just 12 guys from Europe and 12 from America, with no prize money at stake and competing just for the glory? Wouldn't that be a nice way for sport to start back?

"I look at it this way. Imagine if they showed a live game from the National League in football on television tonight. The whole of Britain and Ireland would be watching.

"That's the power of live sport, and how much we're missing it. Multiply that by so many times and you get to the scale of the Ryder Cup. 

"Don't we have a duty and a responsibility to try to hold it? Qualifying can always be sorted out.

"I'm a reasonable person when it comes to preparing for all eventualities but how could you have foreseen anything so horrifying?

"We've got all our different scenarios but none of them really add up to anything important in the real world. But we go on, and we're trying to be ready. If we can play, we'll be there, and I know the PGA of America are on the same page."

Harrington also offered his thoughts on what will happen with this season's majors, adding: "I have an inside track regarding the Ryder Cup and I can tell you our date is set in stone and the other authorities are working around us. 

"But I'm not privy to other details. If you're asking me as a pro, I'd say the Open will move from July to a later date rather than be cancelled, and there must be a strong chance there will be two majors played back-to-back."

About Author

Peter Hanson

Comment