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RYDER CUP: Captains have coronavirus to think about

Ryder Cup captains Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker will have to nominate three players to sit out Sunday’s singles matches in the event of players testing positive for Covid-19.

Each captain traditionally puts the name of one player in an envelope before play gets underway in case a member of the opposing team is unable to compete due to injury.

And the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has complicated matters further, with Harrington initially unclear on the situation if multiple players tested positive at Whistling Straits when he spoke to the media on Tuesday.

“There is an injury envelope and a Covid envelope,” Harrington said. “We haven’t quite clarified what the position is of ‘how many is too many?’ with Covid.

“Obviously the first two days it’s four players (that) sit out so there’s no issues on those two days, but obviously on Sunday you start losing a few players to Covid, it does affect the match in some way.

“The issue is complicated and probably above the pay grade of the two captains. It’s something I’m sure is causing a lot of thought and time about what is too many and what is sustainable but it is not really for the captains, it is for the running of the event.”

In the captains’ agreement subsequently released to the media, it states that: “Any player testing positive, even while playing a match, is immediately ineligible for the remainder of that match and the remainder of any other Ryder Cup matches.

“When the captains lodge their selections for singles play, they must provide a second sealed envelope containing the names of three players (in order of substitution) who are regarded as having been paired with the players who, due to Covid-19, have to withdraw from the other side.

“Such pairing/s are regarded as tied matches.

“This agreement covers withdrawal, due to Covid-19 only, for singles matches only, of up to two players per side up to 30 minutes before the first singles match commences for the day.”

Tournament officials later released an updated statement which read: “In terms of multiple players testing positive, either from one team or on both teams, while not speculating on precise numbers, the exact details of the scenario would be assessed by both organizations in order to determine its impact on the overall playing of the Ryder Cup.”

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