Padraig Harrington says there is no chance of this year's Ryder Cup being played behind closed doors.
Harrington will captain Team Europe at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in September and says both the PGA and European Tours have agreed that the tournament will not go ahead if spectators are unable to attend.
"The absolute 100% consensus is it will not happen behind closed doors," Harrington told Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1.
"The PGA, whose event it is this time around, and the European Tour, both have agreed that spectators are far too important to the event. It will not happen behind closed doors."
The coronavirus pandemic has already resulted in the cancellation of the 149th Open, with the Masters, US Open and PGA Championship all rescheduled for later this year, but Harrington is continuing his "day by day" preparations for Europe’s Ryder Cup defence and hopes the tournament can still take place in September.
"If we could have the match, even if circumstances weren’t 100% perfect in terms of preparation, it would still be a great event on TV," he said.
"The golfing and sporting public would enjoy that release. It would be a sense of normality.
"Again, it's not important in the real world. But it wouldn’t be a bad thing. If they put on a fourth division soccer match from the UK, we’d all sit in and watch it if it’s live. We’re just dying for a bit of sport.
"I am preparing day by day for it, trying to get organised. There is still administrative stuff. On Friday I had a five-minute video from one of the Ryder Cup staff, where he was in his back garden in the rainwear we’re going to wear, getting showered with a hose by his kids, just to make sure it’s waterproof."
"Who knows come September?"— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) April 12, 2020
Europe captain @padraig_h discusses the sense of uncertainty as he works towards the Ryder Cup #RTEGolf @DAVEKELLY4 @rtenews
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Harrington is unable to developing partnerships, though. He had hoped to have players teaming up by now, in particular inexperienced golfers who could make their Ryder Cup debuts in Wisconsin.
"For these six months I would have been at tournaments," said Harrington. "I’d have some idea about who is going to be matched up in fourballs, who is suited for each other, and in those six months I’d be getting them on the golf course, partnering up.
"Some of them wouldn’t even know this but in stroke play tournaments they’d be paired together in the first two rounds. I’d be asking a senior player to take a rookie who is going to make the team under his wing.
"I’d be doing things like that over this six months, getting those relationships built now so that when they turn up on the Monday of the Ryder Cup, it’s not all new to them. They know what they’re doing.
"That causes a little bit of issue for me, but it’s only an issue in terms of the Ryder Cup."
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