Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 in hopes ‘thousands of spectators’ can be present

Tiger Woods plays on the final day of the 42nd Ryder Cup on Sept. 30, 2018, in France.
Tiger Woods plays on the final day of the 42nd Ryder Cup on Sept. 30, 2018, in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.
(Alastair Grant / Associated Press)

The Ryder Cup has been postponed until 2021 in Wisconsin after the COVID-19 pandemic raised uncertainty that the loudest event in golf could be played with spectators present.

The announcement Wednesday had been in the works for weeks as the PGA of America, the European Tour and the PGA Tour tried to adjust with so many moving parts. The Ryder Cup was scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits. Because of a reconfigured golf schedule brought on by the pandemic, that would have been one week after the U.S. Open.

Now, the Ryder Cup will move to Sept. 24-26 in 2021. It’s the second time in the last two decades the Ryder Cup has been postponed. The tournament was moved off the odd-numbered years in 2001 because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said. “It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call.


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“The spectators who support both the U.S. and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event, and playing without them was not a realistic option.”

The PGA Tour was involved because the Presidents Cup — matches held every other year between Americans and an International team from everywhere but Europe — was scheduled for 2021 at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina.

The Ryder Cup becomes the second big event to leave the golf calendar this year due to the pandemic. The British Open was canceled and will return to Royal St. George’s in 2021. The other majors have been rearranged, with the PGA Championship Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco with no spectators.

The U.S. Open is now set for Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot, with the Masters on Nov. 12-15. It has not been determined if spectators will be allowed.