Irish golfer Rory McIlroy reckons this year’s Ryder Cup will not go ahead at Whistling Straights at the end of September. The current world number one said: “My hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen. I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special. The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup. I can see it being pushed back until 2021 and, honestly, I think that will be the right call.”
Meanwhile the Europe Tour will resume on July 22 with a run of six tournaments over six weeks in the UK; however the Tour has yet to set a date for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which was due to be played at Mount Juliet in County Kilkenny last weekend. The golf calendar has been wiped out since March 8, but a return date has now been set, with the British Masters at Close House near Newcastle the opening tournament in July. European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley assured Irish golf fans that the Irish Open is “absolutely critical,” but there will be no announcement until they decide on one of ‘three or four date options.” Pelley said: ‘‘The Irish Open is still absolutely critical and is very much part of our plans. I don’t want anyone to think that the Irish Open, because it is not part of this announcement, is less important, because that would give you the wrong message. It is hugely important to us. So much so that we have three or four date options for it. We could have announced, but it wouldn't have been 100 per cent and I didn’t feel comfortable with that.’’ The season will run through until December, with all tournaments played behind closed doors and subject to strict safety and testing protocols.
-- Sean Creedon