A Ryder Cup Without Fans? PGA's Seth Waugh Says It's Possible
Execs from both the PGA of America and the European Tour "are discussing plans for a Ryder Cup without fans despite opposition from the players," according to Rick Broadbent of the LONDON TIMES. PGA CEO Seth Waugh during an appearance on WFAN said, "We have begun to talk about whether you could create some virtual fan experience and we are going to try to be as creative as we can. It's (still) to be determined, frankly, whether you could hold it without fans or not." Francesco Molinari, who has been on three European Ryder Cup teams, said, "I am sure all the players agree it would be better to wait until we can have a proper Ryder Cup [with fans]." The event is set for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin (LONDON TIMES, 4/20).
NOT EVERYONE IS ON BOARD: European captain Padraig Harrington on Saturday said, "I was told categorically that the Ryder Cup would not be played behind closed doors. Now I hear it is a possibility and I think that's based of the fact the [PGA Championship in August] may be behind closed doors." In London, James Corrigan writes the main reason why the event "would go ahead in these unprecedented circumstances is depressingly obvious -- money." Former European captain Paul McGinley: "The professional golf authorities need the TV revenue, particularly the PGA of America who are the organisers for both the (U.S.) PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. To have either, or both, of those events cancelled would be devastating from a financial perspective." But players are not in favor of playing without fans. Lee Westwood said, "I just don’t see anybody standing on a green and holing the match-winning putt in front of an empty grandstand, with nobody cheering. It would ruin it, it wouldn't be right. It's got be played in front of a crowd" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/20).