Graeme McDowell and Colin Montgomerie are both in agreement that this year’s Ryder Cup should not go ahead without spectators.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, the world’s top three players, have already expressed reservations about the September contest being played behind closed doors at Whistling Straits, and their views were echoed by McDowell and Montgomerie during the live 2010 Ryder Cup Watchalong on Sunday.
McDowell insisted the Ryder Cup should only be given the green light if it is deemed safe enough to admit spectators, while Montgomerie urged the tournament authorities, the European Tour and the PGA of America, to be “patient” and wait until the Ryder Cup can be played “properly”.
As he reflected on the astonishing scenes around the 17th green after securing victory for Europe at Celtic Manor, McDowell said: “Watching this thinking ‘does the Ryder Cup work without this atmosphere, this excitement, this experience?
“My answer is no, because this is what the Ryder Cup is all about.
Graeme McDowell explains how he reacted to being selected to go out last by Colin Montgomerie in the 2010 Ryder Cup singles.
“Standing on that first tee, whether it’s in Europe or America, and you’ve got that partisan feeling among the fans supporting their guys, you’ve got the noise and the passion. It’s the fans that bring the ‘X Factor’ to the Ryder Cup.
“That’s what makes the Ryder Cup so different, it’s what makes the intensity level for the players so different, and I can’t really imagine what it would feel like to make a 30-foot putt in a pivotal match in the Ryder Cup and then have silence.
“It would just be very strange, so I hope whatever decision gets made about this year’s Ryder Cup is for the good of the tournament, and for the good of what the Ryder Cup has become.
“We’ll see what happens, and if we can go ahead safely with fans, let’s do it. If it can’t go ahead safely with fans, then let’s wait a year and do it right.
“Montgomerie, one of Europe’s most successful players and the winning captain at Celtic Manor 10 years ago, added: “The Ryder Cup is worth playing properly, and properly means having fans.