Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits postponed to 2021

USA captain, Steve Stricker, and his European counterpart, Padraig Harrington, at Whistling Straits last year. (Getty Images)
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Updated 08 July 2020

Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits postponed to 2021

  • The 43rd edition of the biennial matches, which had been set for Whistling Straits in Wisconsin on September 25-27, will instead be staged on September 24-26, 2021
  • The postponement is the first for the Ryder Cup since 2001, when September 11 terrorist attacks upon New York and Washington prompted the matches to be delayed a year

MIAMI: This year’s Ryder Cup golf showdown between Europe and the United States was postponed to 2021 on Wednesday, becoming the latest major sports event disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and the US PGA Tour announced the 43rd edition of the biennial matches, which had been set for Whistling Straits in Wisconsin on September 25-27, will instead be staged on September 24-26, 2021.
A planned 2021 Presidents Cup between a US squad and a non-European internationals team will be delayed until September 22-25, 2022 with a Ryder Cup in Rome pushed back a year to 2023.
The postponement is the first for the Ryder Cup since 2001, when September 11 terrorist attacks upon New York and Washington prompted the matches to be delayed a year. The Cup also went unplayed from 1939-1945 due to World War II.
Holders Europe will keep for another year the trophy won in France in 2018 by 17 1/2 — 10 1/2.
The worldwide COVID-19 outbreak has prevented spectators from attending golf events, including US PGA Tour tournaments, after its return in June from a three-month shutdown.
Guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local officials prompted the decision, with health considerations the top priority.
“Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits,” PGA of America chief executive officer Seth Waugh said.
“It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call.”
World number one Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and fellow four-time major champion Brooks Koepka of the United States were among the top players who did not want to see a Ryder Cup staged without fans, whose passionate cheers, songs and shouts create a unique atmosphere at Cup matches.
US captain Steve Stricker and Europe counterpart Padraig Harrington agreed they did not want to see a Ryder Cup without spectators.
“When you think of the Ryder Cup you think of the distinctive atmosphere generated by the spectators, such as around the first tee at Le Golf National two years’ ago,” Harrington said.
“If that cannot be responsibly recreated at Whistling Straits in September, then it is correct that we all wait until it can be.”
COVID-19 cases continue to soar across the United States and even if a limited number of fans were allowed on the course, travel restrictions could still be a factor for those wanting to come from Europe.


Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

Updated 12 August 2020

Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

  • A victory against Leipzig will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since 2017

LISBON: So far so good for Atletico Madrid in the quest for their first Champions League title.

Diego Simeone’s team have caught all the breaks going into the decisive final-eight tournament in Lisbon.

Old foes Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are gone. They drew Leipzig instead of a more traditional powerhouse for the quarterfinals. And their rival lost its top player after Timo Werner left for Chelsea. Even when things went wrong and the squad was hit by COVID-19, Atletico avoided the worst as only two players were infected and they could still make the trip to Portugal.

Things have been looking good for Simeone and his players.

A victory against Leipzig on Thursday will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since it was eliminated by Ronaldo’s Madrid in the last four in 2017. Ronaldo and Madrid had defeated Atletico in the final in 2014 and 2016, and also ended the rival’s run in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Ronaldo again was Atletico’s nemesis last season after joining Juventus. Atletico lost to the Italian team in the round of 16 after Ronaldo scored a hat trick in the decisive second leg in Turin.

But this time Ronaldo and Juventus were eliminated by Lyon in the last 16, the same stage in which Madrid were knocked out of the tournament by Manchester City. Only two past champions are still left in the competition — Barcelona and Bayern Munich — and they play against each other in the opposite side of the draw, meaning Atletico could only meet one of them in the final.

Leipzig are a relative newcomer to the Champions League, having reached the group stage only twice. This is the first time they made it to the knockout round. They eliminated Tottenham in the round of 16, but now they won't count on top scorer Werner, who did not extend his contract by a few weeks to finish the season with the German club before moving to Chelsea.

Atletico stunned defending European champion Liverpool in the last 16, advancing after a 3-2 win in England.

“The game against Liverpool will go down in history and was one of the best we’ve had in a long time,” Atletico striker Diego Costa said. “It gave fans high expectations and we will give our best to try to meet those expectations. Hopefully we will play well and luck will stay on our side.”

Costa said Atletico will not take Leipzig lightly despite  the rival’s lack of experience in international competitions.

“They are very strong on the ball and know what they are about,” he said. “They have made it to the quarterfinals and have no pressure.”

There was a scare within Atletico this week when it announced two positive test results for COVID-19 among the group that was traveling to Lisbon. There were concerns that an outbreak within the club could have affected the team’s participation in the tournament in Portugal, but new tests showed that only Ángel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko were infected and the squad could travel to Lisbon.

Vrsaljko was not even going to play because he is nursing an injury, while Correa isn't among Atletico’s top stars even though he led the team in assists this season.

After coming agonizingly close recently, Atletico hope the breaks will keep going their way and that they  will finally get to lift the coveted European trophy.