Paul McGinley urges caution as the Ryder Cup debate rumbles on

Paul McGinley Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup legend Paul McGinley has insisted golf will need to get used to a ‘new normal’ for some time to come, saying now is not the moment to make a definitive decision on staging this year’s Ryder Cup.

Speaking exclusively to Golf365 ahead of his participation in a Paddy Power event on Friday, McGinley suggested Ryder Cup organisers should take a cautious approach ahead of the 43rd match at Whistling Straits, that is still scheduled to be staged in September despite the coronavirus pandemic.

US captain Steve Stricker is among those calling for this year’s event to be postponed if fans cannot attend, but Europe’s 2014 winning captain has insisted that approach may be short-sighted.

“I know how important the fans are to the Ryder Cup, but let’s not just jump to the conclusion to cancel this year’s event if the fans can’t go,” said the Irishman, who led Europe to a stunning Ryder Cup win six years ago.

“There are so many financial implications and other issues that go into a decision to cancel a massive event like the Ryder Cup and my only message is if we are going to call it off, let’s do it for the right reasons. Let’s not just cancel because there is no crowd, because every other sport is getting on with it without spectators and golf has to do the same.

“Do we really think this battle can be declared as won before a vaccine has been found of medical remedies to deal with this thing? We saw the criticism the UK government got for allowing events like the Cheltenham Festival and the Liverpool v Atletico Madrid game to go ahead just before the lockdown and they will learn a lesson from that as we can’t afford a second and third wave of this virus.

“The way social media works in this modern world, I don’t think any sensible government would run the risk of opening stadiums and saying let’s go again, so sport and entertainment are here for quite a while.

“People going back to work and restaurants opening are at the front of the queue for what happens next, with crowds at sports and concerts last on the list. Mass gatherings won’t be happening for a while and sport has to get used to that.”

With the US PGA Tour set to return to action next week and the European Tour having five events planned for the UK starting in July, McGinley has urged Ryder Cup planners to look at the success of those events before making a call on the 43rd match between the USA and Europe.

“Who knows where we will be in September when the Ryder Cup is due to be played,” he added. “Let’s give everything a bit more time and see where we are as the weeks move on and we assess what is happening with this virus as this lockdown is loosened.

“It will be strange watching sport without fans in the coming weeks, but this is the new normal and I don’t think we can say we are out of this crisis any time soon. With that in mind, let’s be open-minded about what is realistic for sport.”

The Paddy Power Golf Shootout is available to watch on Paddy Power’s YouTube channel from 12pm on Friday.

By Kevin Palmer, @RealKevinPalmer on Twitter.