European captain Padraig Harrington has dropped the biggest hint yet that we're facing the prospect of a postponed Ryder Cup

A week on from saying the Ryder Cup will go ahead in its proposed September slot, even if it meant two teams of captain’s picks, Padraig Harrington has cast doubt on the tournament going ahead at all.

The biennial slobberknocker between Teams Europe and USA is still scheduled to be played from September 25-27 at Whistling Straits, despite July’s Open being cancelled and the PGA Championship, US Open and Masters being moved to August, September and November respectively.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Harrington said:”Nobody wants to see the Ryder Cup played without the fans being there.

“There’s no doubt that it makes the tournament so much better. I think the common consensus now is the Ryder Cup will not be played unless the fans are there.

“Non-golfers and golfers around the world watch the Ryder Cup because of the tension that’s created by the spectators.”

It’s a stark reality check for people who believe the world will be in a place where it can host a touranament involving thousands of spectators by the end of the summer.

Harrington added that he and opposing captain Steve Stricker are in regular touch with Ryder Cup organisers and, despite discussions of a postponement taking place, he is planning as normal for the September dates.

“I’m not saying it hasn’t been in doubt. I’m sure they’ve looked at alternatives and things like that,” he explained.

“But the only reason for the Ryder Cup not being there, and that’s outside everybody’s hands, is the coronavirus. It’s not something that’s within our control.

“There are bigger things too than the Ryder Cup. You know it’s a big deal in golf but we have to see the bigger picture.

“I hope that we get our chance to play. I think it’s something that can bring people together and is something to look forward to and enjoy.”

The interview came 24 hours after Harrington and Stricker had issued a joint open letter to golf fans urging them to stay at home.

A message to everyone.

Every two years Europe and the United States of America come together. We are united by the shared values of sportsmanship and our desire to defeat a formidable opponent. In doing so, we witness some incredible displays of determination, passion and spirit.

When Europe takes on the United States in The Ryder Cup it is always fiercely contested but it is just golf. It is not a matter of life and death.

Fighting coronavirus is.

Today Europe and the United States are united like never before. We have a formidable opponent, but it is not each other. It is like nothing we have ever faced before.

Defeating coronavirus won’t happen in three days. It won’t happen because of the efforts of only 12 men. It needs all of us to play our part. So while Europe and the America once again come together, we also stand as one with all of our friends around the world during this unprecedented global crisis.

As Ryder Cup captains, we proudly represent all the players, caddies, staff and partners of the European Tour and PGA of America and we speak on behalf of every single one of them when we say that our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected.

We also speak for them when we say that we are all moved by the incredible determination, passion and spirit we are witnessing from our health professionals, key workers and everyone else on the front line in this battle. We are all indebted to the incredible work they are all doing.

Last week, some of the world’s leading golfers featured in a social media video thanking our heroes. We want to take this opportunity to reiterate our sincere gratitude to all of you once more.

Today is World Health Day. It should also be a day when we are all at Augusta National for the first major of the 2020 season, but golf is insignificant right now. Instead of celebrating someone in a Green Jacket, this week we rightly celebrate those selfless people around the world wearing scrubs, wearing white coats, wearing supermarket uniforms, together with everyone else working round the clock to protect us and keep the world functioning. You are our true heroes.

For them, we urge everyone to please stay safe, stay healthy and stay home. And stay united.

Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker

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