March 21, 2020 / 6:41 AM / 13 days ago

Golf: Casey backs postponement of Ryder Cup because of coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) - English Ryder Cup veteran Paul Casey believes Europe’s title defence in Wisconsin later this year should be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

March 13, 2020; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA; Paul Casey leaves the clubhouse after the cancellation of the 2020 edition of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. The tournament was cancelled at the conclusion of the first round due to the developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The biennial contest between Europe and the United States is scheduled for Whistling Straits on the shores of Lake Michigan Sept. 25-27.

Organisers earlier this week described as “inaccurate” a British newspaper report that plans were being made to push back the event by 12 months, as happened in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Casey cited that precedent when he was asked whether he would favour a delay of this year’s clash while the world deals with the health crisis.

“Yes is the answer to that,” he told the BBC. “I am never a fan of postponing stuff but it’s been postponed before, so why can’t it happen again?”

Like most other sports, the professional golf calendar has been heavily disrupted by the pandemic.

The first two major championships of the year, April’s Masters and the PGA Championship in May, have already been postponed.

The U.S.-based PGA Tour, which runs the game’s most popular circuit, has cancelled all tournaments until mid-May at the earliest.

But for the suspension of the tour, Casey would have been playing for a third successive title at the Valspar Championship in Florida this week.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” the world number 24 added. “I was looking forward to going for three in a row, but it’s amazing how quickly things have changed.

“The situation is no longer about golf, it’s about worrying about people’s safety, people’s health and the economic impact of that.”

Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; editing by Jane Wardell

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