Veteran Lee Westwood has emphasised the much-needed importance of spectators for this year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in September.
The Englishman has echoed stances of players such as Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, saying fans are ‘essential’ and very much a part of the whole morale of a Ryder Cup. He also feels it won’t seem right to stage the 2020 edition behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘I just don’t see somebody holing the winning putt, from either side, on the 18th green or wherever it may be, turning to an empty stand, raising his hands in the air and it feeling the same,’ Westwood said in an interview with the Golf Channel.
‘It’s never going to feel the same, with what’s going on. But if any tournament needs fans, it’s that tournament. Just for me, the fans are essential for the Ryder Cup.’
In addition, Westwood, vice-captain of the 2018 Team Europe at Le Golf National, said that if circumstances don’t improve by the time for the Ryder Cup to start a postponement to next year might ‘be needed’.
Westwood has been part of 10 consecutive Ryder Cup events. He is on track to earn automatic qualification for Padraig Harrington’s team, thanks to a successful season so far where he won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship earlier this year.
Given the number of European Tour events cancelled due to coronavirus and the many postponements, Westwood believes it’s going to be a tough decision for Harrington to finalise his European team.
‘I think we might have to modify it a little bit. I think Padraig is pleased with the way the team’s shaping up, and the way that qualifying has gone. But at the same point, there are people on the outside that would have been some of the favourites to get in there. It’s a difficult one,’ concluded Westwood.