The Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits has been rescheduled to take place in 2021, organizers have confirmed, with the Presidents Cup moving to 2022.
Doubts have persisted about the feasibility of staging the Ryder Cup since the outbreak of coronavirus and on Wednesday a decision was finally taken to push it back a year.
In a statement, organizers confirmed that the decision “was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County, with the health and well-being of all involved as the top priority”.
Playing the event without fans had been mooted as an option, but instead it is now set to be held on September 21-26 next year with crowds present.
The knock-on effect means the next edition of the competition in Europe, when Italy plays host, will move back to 2023 as it retains its biennial scheduling.
The Presidents Cup, which was due to start on September 30 next year at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, will now move to September 19-25, 2022.
Next year’s Wells Fargo Championship will return to Quail Hollow Club but move to TPC Potomac for 2022 to accommodate the Presidents Cup.
“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,” said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
“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. As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can to safeguard public health is what matters most.
“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.”
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: “With the uncertainty of the current climate, we fully support the Ryder Cup’s decision to delay a year in order to ensure fans could be a part of the incredible atmosphere in Wisconsin.
“And the delay of next year’s Presidents Cup was the right decision in order to allow for that option.”
US Team captain Steve Stricker said postponing the Ryder Cup was “the right thing to do under the circumstances”.
He added: “At the end of the day, we want to stage a Ryder Cup that will rival all other Ryder Cups in my home state of Wisconsin, and now we have the opportunity to showcase the event as it was meant to be seen.”
European counterpart Padraig Harrington said: “Rescheduling the Ryder Cup was never going to be an easy decision given the many factors to take into consideration.
“But I believe it is the right assessment given the unprecedented circumstances we are facing at this time.
“When you think of the Ryder Cup you think of the distinctive atmosphere generated by the spectators, such as around the first tee at Le Golf National two years ago.
“If that cannot be responsibly recreated at Whistling Straits in September, then it is correct that we all wait until it can be.
“I know, right now, that September 2021 feels like a long time away. But it will come around quickly and I guarantee that the European players and I will be ready when it does.”
There have been more than 32,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, according to the state’s Department of Health Services.
In total, there have been nearly 3.1million positive tests in the United States, with more than 134,000 deaths among those known to have contracted the virus.