Ryder Cup: US captain Steve Stricker says event ‘almost a yawn’ without fans

Steve Stricker (left) and Padraig Harrington are set to lead the US and Europe teams at the 2020 Ryder Cup in September

American captain Steve Stricker says it would be “a crime” if the Ryder Cup is played without fans this September.

The PGA of America and the European Tour will decide this month whether the match will happen at Whistling Straits in Stricker’s home state of Wisconsin.

Stricker said: “This event is made by the fans. If it was without fans, it almost would be a yawner of an event.

“To cheat out the Wisconsin fans would be a crime. I hope when we do have it, it can be up to its full potential.”

The biennial match is scheduled for 25-27 September, with Europe as the defending champions.

“So far, we’re planning it as it’s a go, like we’re going to have it,” Stricker told Golf Affect Radio. “But there’s some obstacles that we’re going to have to face.

“The confidence of the people and the corporate people. It’s going to come down to probably the safety. And who knows, right?”

Stricker said a decision will need to be made in the coming weeks. This has been confirmed by European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

“We will have the conversations now and we will have a direction by the end of the month,” Pelley told the McKellar Golf podcast.

Europe’s captain Padraig Harrington has said golfers may “have to take one for the team” and play the Ryder Cup without fans because of covid-19 fears.

But leading players, including world number one, Rory McIlroy have voiced strong opposition to such an idea.

Meanwhile, Pelley also insisted there is no need for his tour to merge with their American rivals, the PGA Tour, but stated both organisations are working more closely due to financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

“Those conversations are stronger than ever. I am optimistic that the PGA Tour and the European Tour will work closer together in the future.

“It has to be good for their players and it has to be good for our players.”

The PGA Tour returns on 11 June at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas and it has been announced that the currently suspended world golf rankings will be back be operation when play resumes.

European Tour golfers do not return until the circuit resumes at the British Masters behind closed doors at Close House near Newcastle, on 22 July.

BBC Sport will have live coverage of all four days of the PGA Tour event in Texas with commentary on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra and text updates on the BBC Sport website.

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