Ryder Cup won't be played due to tragedy

Monday, September 17, 2001

LONDON -- The Ryder Cup was postponed for one year on Sunday because of terrorist attacks that left the American team wary of traveling and uneasy about playing.

The European Ryder Cup board said the showcase event, scheduled for Sept. 28-30 at The Belfry in England, will be played in September 2002 at the same location.

The PGA of America informed the European board that the scope of Tuesday's strikes in New York and Washington was "so overwhelming" that it would be "impossible" for the U.S. Ryder Cup team to attend.

"We have been placed in a position beyond our control and therefore the matches, out of necessity, have been postponed," European Ryder Cup Board spokesman Mitchell Platts said.

Tiger Woods had already pulled out of this week's Lancome Trophy in Paris.

"I feel strongly that this is a time to pause, reflect and remember the victims of Tuesday's horrific attack," he said on his Web site.

European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance said the decision was one of "common sense."

"What happened in America last week has put the Ryder Cup and everything else into perspective," he said. "I am desperately heartbroken for all the people involved in this terrible tragedy."

"All I can feel at the moment is an immense sadness. There will be time enough to talk further about the 34th Ryder Cup matches taking place next year."Strange likes move

U.S. captain Curtis Strange called the postponement "very appropriate in light of the situation."

"The tragedy in America caused us all to reflect and evaluate our own lives and relationships with family and friends," he said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by last Tuesday's disaster."

The Ryder Cup, which began in 1927 and is played every other year, was interrupted for six years during World War II. It has become one of the biggest events in golf, and this year's matches were especially anticipated.

Two years ago, the United States pulled off the greatest comeback in history with a 45-foot putt by Justin Leonard and a celebration that offended the European team.

Jim Awtrey, chief executive officer of PGA of America, said the organization appreciated the respect shown by the Ryder Cup board.

"Given the enormity of the tragedy in America, we informed European officials of our desire to postpone the matches until next year," Awtrey said.

"We understand this is a hardship for them to reschedule the matches next year ... but it was important to us that the matches be played and not canceled," he added.

"We will work with our counterparts in Europe over the next year to ensure that the 34th Ryder Cup matches are played in the spirit in which they were meant."Rescheduling process

The invitation for the U.S team and officials had not been withdrawn but extended, Platts said, and the process of rescheduling the matches for 2002 would begin as soon as possible.

The matches will take place with the same captains -- Torrance and Strange -- and the same 10 players and two wild cards on each squad.

Woods had stressed his concern about making the trip to Paris.

"I have always felt that I must be fully committed to each and every golf competition I enter, but due to this week's events, I am not," he said. "I also fear that the security risks of traveling overseas at the present time are too great."

The PGA Tour will resume this week after calling off a tournament. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said his organization supports the Ryder Cup postponement.

"It became apparent over the last several days that the challenges posed by international travel and time away from families for innumerable fans and sponsors of the Ryder Cup matches made it impossible to hold to the original schedule," he said.

European Ryder Cup rookie Pierre Fulke of Sweden said most of his teammates wanted to play but fully understood the reasons for the postponement.

"Under the circumstances it's the only decision that could have been made," he said. "Everybody's gut feeling after Tuesday was that the Ryder Cup would be in danger and you have to understand the American players who did not want to travel, and it's the only decision."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: