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Rory McIlroy: Fan-less Ryder Cup is ‘not a Ryder Cup’

What do you call a Ryder Cup without fans?

“Not a Ryder Cup,” said Rory McIlroy.

Speaking during a TaylorMade Golf-sponsored Instagram Live session, the European team stalwart said he’d rather the 2020 matches, set for Sept. 25-27, be postponed until 2021 than be played at Whistling Straits without fans.

“That’s from a European, going to America, knowing that I’m going to get abuse,” McIlroy said. “Obviously it would be better for Europeans to play without fans because we wouldn’t deal with some of the stuff that you have to put up with, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be a great spectacle. There would be no atmosphere.

“So if it came to whether they had to choose between not playing the Ryder Cup of playing it without fans, I would say just delay it a year.”

Could the Ryder Cup be played this year without spectators? The topic is at least being discussed by PGA of America executives.

McIlroy’s comments come after PGA CEO Seth Waugh discussed the possibility of a fan-less Ryder Cup during an appearance on a WFAN radio show Sunday.

“It’s hard to imagine one without fans,” Waugh said. “We have begun to talk about whether you could create some virtual fan experience, and we’re going to try to be as creative as we can. It’s [still] to be determined, frankly, whether you could hold it without fans or not.”

“... I’m not suggesting [not allowing fans] doesn’t change the experience, but in the Ryder Cup [fans are] particularly important. We’ll be very careful about that. It’s a very unique thing.”