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TV viewers may rule in Ryder Cup call, admits Harrington

Europe captain Padraig Harrington believes players may have to stomach the sterile atmosphere of a Ryder Cup behind closed doors to keep TV viewers entertained.

The biennial event between Europe and the United States is scheduled to take place from September 25-27 in Wisconsin, but is in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far 13 events have been cancelled or postponed on the PGA Tour. Action is scheduled to resume on June 11, but the first four events will be played without spectators.

Some of Europe’s leading players like Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are not in favour of the event being without fans on the course. But Harrington believes golf may have to “take one for the world of team sport”.

“No one wants to play behind closed doors but they (tournament organisers) are keeping a prudent eye on it and they know if the PGA Tour events in June go off well behind closed doors it’s a possibility,” the three-time major winner told Sky Sports.

“The players don’t want it but we might have to take one for the world of team sport and put an event on that people can watch. It wouldn’t be the same for us but we’re craving sport on TV.

“I keep saying if they put on any live sport, a lower division football game, we’d all be watching it because we want to see something live, something that’s unexpected.

“The unpredictability of an event would be nice, you don’t realise what you miss.”

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