(BBC) – The 2020 Ryder Cup has been postponed for a year because the coronavirus pandemic means the event cannot be staged safely with spectators present.
The match between the United States and Europe was due to be held at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin on September 25-27.
But the biennial event has now been rescheduled for September 24-26, 2021.
“The spectators make it a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option,” said PGA of America chief Seth Waugh.
“It became clear that our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible.
“Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call.”
Professional men’s golf in the U.S. has resumed behind closed doors but players have said the Ryder Cup should not go ahead without fans.
The women’s Solheim Cup is scheduled to take place from September 4 to 6, 2021 in Ohio and LPGA commissioner Mike Whan has told BBC Sport that the Ryder Cup decision does not affect their plans.
The European Tour announced that the qualification process for the European team has been frozen until the beginning of 2021.
And the next Ryder Cup to be held in Europe has been pushed back a year with Rome now set to host the event in 2023.
Europe captain Padraig Harrington said it was a “relief” that organisers decided to postpone the competition.
“For me, it was very messy behind the scenes,” the 48-year-old Irishman said.
“The decision was based on health and safety, but trying to get organised behind the scenes, it was going to be incredibly difficult to pull a team together that was fair and representative, and all the complications that go with it.
“For example, what happens if a player gets COVID? What happens if there’s a cluster? Do players have to quarantine?”
Harrington also said that if the Ryder Cup went ahead without fans then it would have lost part of its character.
“The team atmosphere the crowd generate, that would’ve been missed,” the three-time major winner added. “When you win in a tournament it’s very exciting, but you don’t get the same experience as you would at the Ryder Cup.
“I’ve seen over the years, the number of players that come out of their shell in terms of their personality because of the crowds and that would be missed.”
In 2018 Europe regained the trophy with a 17½-10½ win over USA in the 42nd edition of the biennial competition.