Justin Rose believes the Ryder Cup deserves to remain a highlight of the golfing calendar when sporting action resumes following the coronavirus pandemic.
The first two majors of the season, the Masters and US PGA Championship, have been postponed and not yet rescheduled, while June’s US Open is a major doubt due to the proximity of Winged Foot to a coronavirus containment zone.
An early October date for the Masters has been rumoured while PGA of America officials hope to stage the US PGA at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco “at a date this summer”.
Statement from Chairman Ridley:— The Masters (@TheMasters) March 13, 2020
“Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone @TheMasters, @anwagolf and @DriveChipPutt National Finals.”
Full details at https://t.co/FX2AN1MLsY pic.twitter.com/Z2DjS5TYdG
With the Ryder Cup set for September 25-28 it could all add up to an extraordinarily crowded schedule and although Rose is not calling for the biennial contest to be postponed, the Olympic champion believes it would be a shame to see it squeezed by other events.
“I think the Ryder Cup deserves to be the highlight of the schedule and deserves to have the players look forward to it and the fans to be excited about it,” Rose told the PA news agency.
“It would be a shame if it just kind of fell into a rhythm of golf and there wasn’t as much build up. That’s what creates some of the excitement about the Ryder Cup, the talking about it for a year, the anticipation of it.
“The qualification period for the Ryder Cup would also be very condensed. Looking at it personally I’m not in as good a position as I’d like to be so it makes qualification trickier with events being stripped out so the teams might look a little different this time around.
“If it goes ahead in 2020 I don’t know if it’s more important that we change the qualification criteria and Padraig [Harrington, Europe’s captain] gets eight picks maybe given the circumstances.
“Rules are rules and you’ve got to have some type of guideline but it’s an imperfect world at the moment and we’ve got to make the best of a bad situation and either keep it where it is and the teams fall where they may, or you move it a year and try to make it a bit more of a highlight.
“The most important thing is that the health of the world is better because the Ryder Cup is such an international event.”
World number one Rory McIlroy would relish an October date for the Masters, the one major he needs to win to complete a career grand slam.
“Augusta play their cards close to their chest, they don’t let much out of the bag,” McIlroy said on an Instagram Q&A with former Liverpool and England footballer Jamie Redknapp.
“I hope they play it in October time which is the rumour, I think it would be great.
“Potentially you’re looking at four majors and a Ryder Cup and the FedEx Cup in the space of 12 weeks.
“Say the Open gets postponed and moved back to September. You might have the PGA in August, then the FedEx Cup, then the Open Championship, then the Ryder Cup and then the Masters and if the US Open gets postponed maybe that gets pushed back to October or November.
“If we get back to playing by mid-summer it’s going to be a hectic 12 or 15 weeks.”