European captain Padraig Harrington is confident the Ryder Cup will go ahead in September, with or without a qualifying period

Padraig Harrington says the Ryder Cup must not be postponed, saying it would be the perfect way for the sport to return after the coronavirus pandemic eases.

And the Irishman, who will captain the European side at Whistling Straits in September, would be happy to scrap the qualification process and go with a team of his own 12 picks.

“We’re playing on, if at all possible, because the merit of getting out there and showcasing our sport far outweighs a perfect qualifying system,” Harrington said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “It wouldn’t worry me if we were the first tournament back and I had to go with 12 picks with no qualifying.”

He added: “In many ways it would be perfect if the Ryder Cup was the first tournament back. Just 12 guys from Europe and 12 guys from America, with no prize money at stake and competing just for the glory. Wouldn’t that be a nice way for the sport to start back?”

Harrington, like every other fan, has had to watch on helplessly as matches and entire tournaments in every sport get postponed or cancelled.

On Wednesday it was announced that Wimbledon, due to be held in the fortnight prior to the 149th Open at Royal St George’s, would not take place for the first time since the second world war, while the Olympics have already been pushed back to 2021. All the major golf tours, meanwhile, have postponed or cancelled events with no return in sight.

“I look at it this way,” explained Harrington. “Imagine if they showed a live game from the National League in football on television tonight. The whole of Britain and Ireland would be watching.

“That’s the power of live sport, and how much we’re missing it. Multiply that by so many times and you get to the scale of the Ryder Cup.

“Don’t we have a duty and a responsibility to try to hold it? Qualifying can always be sorted out.”

Do you agree with Harrington? Should the Ryder Cup be held this year even if it means no qualifiers? Let us know in the comments below or you can tweet us.

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