A week after it was announced that US captain Steve Stricker would have six rather than four picks for this year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits – giving fresh hope to those who want the match to go ahead – we’ve had the surest sign yet that the event will be postponed.
As first reported by the Associated Press, the Warrens Cranberry Festival – scheduled to take place in Wisconsin the same weekend as the Ryder Cup – has been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival is a big date on the calendar in the so-called ‘Badger State’, attracting crowds of over 45,000 as well as vendors from around the world.
Even more compelling is the organisers’ decision for cancelling this year’s event. In a statement, they said: “The cautious course is to allow more time for the situation to stabilise.”
All of which begs a pertinent question: if it is not possible for Wisconsin to safely stage an event catering for 45,000 people in the final weekend of September, how on Earth can it be safe for the state to stage one of the world’s biggest sporting events, which attracts more than five times as many spectators?
One possible way forward would be to stage the Ryder Cup without fans but with so many people opposed to that prospect – not least Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka and even US captain Stricker – it’s reasonable to assume that proceeding that way would pose more of a problem than a solution.
A decision on the match is expected to be made by the end of the month.