The Irish Open Could Be Played Behind Closed Doors
Paul McGinley believes that the Irish Open could go ahead behind closed doors. The tournament, which was scheduled to be played at Mount Juliet Estate from May 28-31, was postponed last month because of the coronavirus crisis. It is understood that a possible autumn date is being considered for the rescheduling of the event.
"It's a shame as we had a really great field lined up," he told RTE Radio 1. "I think we all need to get our heads round the fact that, when we do get out the other side of this virus, it's very unlikely that the Irish government will allow mass gatherings at any sporting event. So if the Irish Open is to go on at Mount Juliet later in the year, I think there is a very strong chance it will be without a mass gathering. That would be a very eerie place."
The Irish Open was set to be the Tour's second Rolex Series event of 2020 and was to be hosted by Graeme McDowell, with Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and defending champion Jon Rahm confirmed to take part. Professional golf tournaments are about the atmosphere generated by the crowds and nowhere are they more enthusiastic than in Ireland - north and south. It would be a travesty if this event were to go ahead without any fans, and it really shouldn’t happen.
Looking ahead to the Ryder Cup, scheduled to be held at Whistling Straits in September, McGinley, who captained Europe at Gleneagles in 2014, said it is still too early to predict if it can go ahead.
"In order to build the infrastructure, it usually takes about four months, so there's time yet before they need to start cancelling anything," he added. "The big unknown, and this is where we need some guidance from governments, is what is going to be the likelihood of allowing 50,000 spectators on to a golf course?
"If they are not going to be allowed, then we can go right up until August before a decision needs to be be made. In terms of putting a team together, that's the easy bit. The players will be hitting golf balls, a lot of them live in Florida and are able to play on a lot of the courses there. They are not being isolated to the extent we are here in Europe."
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