Earlier this week, the long-expected cancellation of the 2020 Ryder Cup matches was finally announced.
The postponement will push back scheduling of this international event to September 24-26, 2021. The venue will remain the same, with Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisconsin as the host.
The change of schedule will have a domino-effect as next year’s President’s Cup event will also be pushed back a year, to September 2022. The postponements, like so many this year, were due to restrictions caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can do to safeguard public health is what matters most,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said. “The spectators who support both the U.S. and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option.”
For several weeks, many of the tour’s top golfers were vocal in calling for a postponement of the event if no fans were allowed to attend. In recent days, the chance of that happening seemed more and more remote.
In comparison, the PGA Tour’s “re-start” four weeks ago, without fans, has turned out to be a success on several levels. I’ll have to admit, I thought having no fans in attendance would be more noticeable, but the only time I seem to notice the empty galleries is when the camera occasionally shows an overhead shot, where no crowds can be seen.
The Ryder Cup is a totally different environment, however. In recent decades, this intense, international competition has encouraged a raucous atmosphere where the fans in attendance have virtually become part of the competition itself.
I’m sure the decision to postpone this year’s Ryder Cup wasn’t an easy one, but count me as someone who’s glad the event will be played next September — safely, with a large and boisterous crowd.
Last week, the Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown hosted a qualifying event for their upcoming Sunnehanna Amateur Invitational scheduled for July 21-24.
While the majority of Sunnehanna’s amateur field is invited based on World Amateur rankings each year, the club’s tournament committee has scheduled a qualifying over the past several years for golfers not otherwise eligible.
The four qualifying spots available this year were earned by University of Minnesota senior Evan Long (67), Pittsburgh’s Gregor Meyer (68), Peter Bradbeck of Rosemont (68) and Stephen Cerbrera of Langhorne (68).
Later this month, these four will join the best amateurs in the world to compete for the 2020 Sunnehanna Amateur title. As an added bonus — for the first time ever, the Sunnehanna winner, and runner-up, will receive an automatic invitation to the 2020 U.S. Amateur, scheduled for August 10-16 in Bandon Dunes, Oregon.
With the local best-ball season opening up this week, here’s a quick snap-shot of the winning teams from 20 years ago:
n 2000 Sinking Valley Classic: Gary Mankulish Sr and Gary Mankulish Jr
n 2000 Park Hills Classic: Gary Mankulish Sr and Gary Mankulish Jr
n 2000 Iron Masters Classic: Tracey Smith and Dave Uhland
n 2000 Summit Invitational: John Zack and Frank Frontino
n 2000 Scotch Valley Best-Ball: Wes Turiano and Jeff Binney
Ken Love is a Blair County resident who covers golf for the Mirror.
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