The Ryder Cup should not be held this year if it reaches a stage where captains choose all 12 players and fans are unable to attend, according to Chris DiMarco.
Golf's calendar has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic with the PGA and European Tours suspended, while the Masters and US PGA Championship have been postponed. It appears certain the U.S. Open and The Open will follow suit and the Ryder Cup, scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits between September 25-27, is also under threat.
This week, Europe captain Padraig Harrington insisted the biennial competition should go ahead if it is safe even if it meant he had to pick his entire team. DiMarco twice represented the United States in golf's most prestigious team event, ensuring his qualification for the team in 2004 with a runner-up showing at the US PGA Championship, which coincidentally was also hosted at Whistling Straits.
And DiMarco believes points should be retained and carried over to a qualification process for a Ryder Cup taking place in 2021. "No, I don't think that either," DiMarco told Stats Perform when asked if the event should proceed even if the captains had to choose all 12 players.
"[For me], the most important thing at the 2004 US PGA was to make that Ryder Cup team. I just think if it gets cancelled this year and they play it in 2021, the points should just continue for another year and just keep it continuing, nobody can pick this year and then just go as if it was a three-year qualification.
"That's the fairest for everybody and I think that way the guys who have played great get to keep their points and it still gives guys a chance to make that team. I think the eight players who qualify and the four captain's picks, that's the way it should be."
Harrington has also advocated playing the Ryder Cup behind closed doors if it is deemed unsafe for spectators to attend. However, DiMarco feels having fans in attendance is crucial, not least because it gives the home side an advantage. "I don't think the Ryder Cup should be played without fans, I think it's a disservice," added DiMarco, who also played for USA in 2006.
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"I get the other tournaments, I guess you can say it is what it is. But it wouldn't be fair to the home team the fact they wouldn't be allowed to have fans. So, I think as big as the Ryder Cup is the fans are as big a part of that as anything. Yes, it's 24 players and the captains and the co-captains and all that and they can go out and do it, but without those roars you hear around the course it just wouldn't be the same. I think it's the one thing [in golf] – [American] football is the same, you can't watch a football game without fans you just can't do it.
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"The Ryder Cup has to have its fans there, when it's on home turf you have to have that home-field advantage and the fans are that home-field advantage.
"If it comes to that point where they say there won't be any fans I don't think it should be played."
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