England’s Fleetwood joins calls for Ryder Cup defence delay
March 25 2020 11:28 PM
File photo of England’s Tommy Fleetwood. (Reuters)
File photo of England’s Tommy Fleetwood. (Reuters)

AFP/ London

The Ryder Cup should follow the lead of the Olympics and Euro 2020 in postponing this year’s edition to 2021 says one of the stars of the 2018 European win Tommy Fleetwood.
The 29-year-old Englishman told The Times yesterday the coronavirus pandemic will make qualifying for the biennial contest between the United States and Europe unfair.
The Ryder Cup is slated for September 25-28 in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.
Qualifying for the event lasts from September 19 2019 to September 13 this year but already two of the four majors — The Masters and the PGA — have been postponed.
“It would be a shame and feel weird to have to wait for so long after the last Ryder Cup, but you just have to take whatever comes,” said Fleetwood.
“And it would be fairer in qualification terms for it to be pushed back.”
Fleetwood should have no problem qualifying as he presently sits top of the European points list.
He formed a devastating partnership with Italian Francesco Molinari at the 2018 Ryder Cup in France winning all four of their matches.
Fleetwood says the players have to be prepared for any eventuality.
“The main thing is to be ready, both physically and mentally,” he said.
“My psychologist said, ‘You will never get this period back’.
“It’s not great in terms of practice and playing time, but it will be good for rest and recovery.”
“Hopefully this will never happen again but we have to deal with it,” added Fleetwood who has a putting green and a simulator in his house but can’t use the garden to practice as it is a “sandpit” due to work being carried out on it.
He says he has told his father and father-in-law to stay indoors which they have accepted “through gritted teeth and in a grumpy way”.
The British Government on Monday ordered the nationwide shut down of non-essential shops and services and people to stay at home. 
There have been as of Tuesday evening 422 deaths and 8,077 cases in Britain.
He has other concerns too as the people most at risk are those with underlying health issues — his mother, Sue, has Crohn’s disease and his stepson, Oscar, 13, has type 1 diabetes.
However, Fleetwood sees a positive side emanating from the pandemic.
“One thing that has been amazing from all this is how people’s attitudes change in a crisis,” he said.
“I’ve seen so many positive messages that people are sending
“It’s a shame that it can’t be like that all the time.”

US Open in limbo
The closure of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, because of coronavirus concerns has at least temporarily halted preparations there for the 2020 US Open.
The US Golf Association said in a statement to GolfChannel.com that it continues “to hold the dates for the US Open at Winged Foot in June” while it also monitors guidance and regulations from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organisation and state and local authorities.
In the meantime, work that had begun on tournament infrastructure such as corporate hospitality tents and grandstands has been halted.
The USGA acknowledged that the championship, scheduled for June 18-21, might have to be postponed, but said it was too soon to make that call.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation and making relevant contingency plans,” USGA chief brand officer Craig Annis told the Journal News newspaper that serves Westchester County.
“We expect to make a decision sometime in the middle of April.” The first two major championships, the Masters and PGA Championship, have already been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in England is still scheduled for July 16-19.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo warned on Tuesday of “troubling and astronomical numbers” in the rate of coronavirus infections in the state, saying they were doubling every three days.

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