“If the Ryder Cup doesn’t have spectators or limited spectators, they shouldn’t do it. There’s no point”
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 09/06/20 5:41pm
Jon Rahm has reiterated his opposition to playing the Ryder Cup without spectators,, but he has no objection to the majors going ahead behind closed doors.
Rahm echoed the sentiments of Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka in an interview with Sky Sports Golf at the end of April, when he said: “A Ryder Cup without the spectators is just not a Ryder Cup.”
The world No 2 has not changed his view on the prospect of the showpiece taking place without fans at Whistling Straits in September, declaring there would be “no point” in playing without the fervent atmosphere that has made the Ryder Cup one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world.
Ahead of his return to action at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas, the first PGA Tour event since The Players Championship was abandoned after one round 12 weeks ago, Rahm said: “I’ve said it already; if the Ryder Cup doesn’t have spectators or limited spectators, they shouldn’t do it. There’s no point.
“It’s the ultimate entertainment. It’s the one week where we don’t play for ourselves, we’re playing for Europe, they’re playing for the US and we’re all playing for the fans, and the fans make the event what it is.
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“If there can’t be spectators or you can’t have the Ryder Cup as a normal Ryder Cup, I don’t think they should do it; postpone it a year and do it right.
“But with the majors, as long as they can ensure the safety of the players, I believe we could play, and there’s no real reason why not unless you don’t want to play in front of fans. They can still watch it from home.
“A US Open will still be a US Open, a PGA will still be a PGA, and the Masters will still be the Masters. But I also would understand if they don’t want to do it without fans.
“I see both sides, but I think the only event that definitely shouldn’t be played without fans or with limited fans is the Ryder Cup.”
The world’s top three players were grouped together for the first two rounds of The Players in March, and they have been reunited for Thursday and Friday at Colonial Country Club as they headline the Featured Groups coverage for the PGA Tour and Sky Sports.
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“I’m not surprised I must say,” said Rahm, who finished just a shot behind Kevin Kisner in his first appearance at Colonial in 2017. “I figured they were going to entice the viewers with a couple of really, really good groups, and when we played at The Players, me and Rory were coming in in really good form.
“Brooks maybe wasn’t playing his best golf, but Brooks has the ability to come through in the biggest events. We were looking forward to a couple of fun days, especially Friday, and we kind of got, obviously, for really bad reasons, stripped of that opportunity. So I’m glad to be experiencing this again.
“No crowd, like we probably would have had in this group, but still fun to play with the best players in the world, see what everybody has been up to and see how it goes,” added Rahm, who believes the battle for world No 1 status is now not such a big deal in the current climate.
“It’s hard to say anymore who’s the best in the world after not competing for three months. It all depends on who’s prepared the best or who’s handled the situation the best or who even handles these new rules on the PGA Tour the best.
“It’s just a ranking. It’s a continuously moving thing, and since we’ve been stopped, I don’t think those numbers matter a lot anymore. I think we only can come back and prove that we deserve that spot.”
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