Dubai: English golfer Justin Rose, a five-time Ryder Cup player for Europe, has backed a postponement of the biennial men’s golf competition between the US and Europe.
Named after the English businessman Samuel Ryder who donated the trophy, the Ryder Cup is held once every two years with the venue alternating between courses in the US and Europe. This year’s tournament has been scheduled to be held without any spectators in Haven, Wisconsin, in the US between September 25-28.
In an interview with CNN’s Don Riddell, the Englishman, 39, was unsure if the major competition needs to be delayed by a year for next season mainly due to the absence of fans.
“I mean, the Ryder Cup is all about the fans, to be honest with you. My view is, I don’t know how much we can just stack into 2021, because 2021 becomes a bit of a logjam,” Rose told Riddell.
“And the way things are trending, who knows how 2021 looks. You can’t just make (coronavirus) vanish overnight. So, I’m cautious about pushing too much into 2021. Obviously, the Olympics is already there … But 2021 is looking like a very busy year if things keep getting pushed that way.”
Although Rose plays most of his golf on the PGA Tour, the Englishman keeps his membership on the European Tour as well. He won his first major championship at the 2013 US Open at Merion Golf Club, becoming the first English player to win a major since Nick Faldo (1996) and the first to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin (in 1970).
Rose will go in as the defending men’s champion at next year’s Tokyo Olympics having won the tournament at the 2016 Rio Games. With that victory, Rose joined Hall of Fame members Gary Player, David Graham, Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer as one of only five golfers to win official tournaments on all six continents on which golf is played.
Currently playing at the PGA’s Travelers Championships in Cromwell, Connecticut, Rose made the cut at the halfway stage with rounds of 67 and 73 on the first two days. But the former two-time Masters runner-up was way off American leaders Phil Mickelson (-13) and Will Gordon (-12).
“I feel very safe. I think the Tour is doing everything that they can and everything within their power,” Rose said. “The spread of the virus, it’s vague, it’s difficult to know exactly how people are catching it. The Tour is creating a bubble, and within the bubble you feel very safe, but you can’t live 100 per cent of the time within that bubble, so there are transitions from tournament to tournament, where you’re out in the real world. But, I think the procedures here in Connecticut seem incredibly strict and tight.”
The Englishman, who was born in Johannesburg in South Africa and moved to England as a five-year-old, was confident golf is in a much better position while being compared to other sports.
“That’s where I think golf has an advantage over other sports. We’re not in close contact with our competition,” he said.
“There’s many golf clubs now open around the world with certain procedures and precautions in place and I’m hoping that is a benefit for us, but we need the guys to continue to stay safe and healthy.”
The Englishman refrained from speculating on the current pandemic and how it could change things, should someone test positive.
“I don’t know what it would take, and I wouldn’t really want to suggest what it would take. But I think five, 10 [positive coronavirus tests], who knows? I don’t know what the number is,” he said.
“I guess there comes a point where people have to think about it. But like I said, I still feel safe, and I think there’s a lot of great procedures in place.”