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McGinley: Ryder show must go on

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Paul McGinley. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Paul McGinley. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Paul McGinley. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Paul McGinley has backed plans to get the Irish Open back on the 2020 European Tour schedule, as he admitted the glories weather last weekend added to his pain after the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Graeme McDowell has been due to host the tournament at Mount Juliet last weekend, yet the 2019 Irish Open host has told The Herald that all may not be lost for staging the event later this year.

With the European Tour set to swing back into action in July and it's chief executive Keith Pelly making it clear that he wants the Irish Open to be re-scheduled, McGinley has thrown his vocal backing to the plans.

"It would be fantastic to have an Irish Open this year as it would give us all something to look forward to after what has been a traumatic few months," McGinley told us ahead of his participation in the Paddy Power Golf Shootout that will feature England captain Harry Kane and a host of star names in England today.

"The irony that it should have been on last weekend and the weather in Ireland was sensational. We have played so many Irish Opens in May over the years and I can't recall any that were played in decent weather and they were horrific a lot of the time.

"Let's hope we can get it back on. Keith Pelley is very committed to getting it still on the schedule so fingers cross. As we come out of this lockdown and things start to get eased, we have to hope this virus doesn't spike again."

McGinley does not believe the Ryder Cup, scheduled to take place in Wisconsin in September, should be cancelled yet. He argues sports fans need to get used to a new world that will take time to get used to.

"I understand the argument that the Ryder Cup would not work without fans, but maybe we need to hold off for a few weeks before we cancel it," he added.

"Who knows where we will be in September. Let's not jump to conclusions and cancel events quickly. Let's give everything a bit more time and see where we are as the weeks move on and we assess what is happening with this virus as this lockdown is loosened.

"It will be strange watching sport without fans in the coming weeks, but this is the new normal and I don't think we can say we are out of this crisis any time soon. Let's be open-minded about what is realistic for sport.

"I would expect the first couple of European Tour events to be very slow and strange without any crowds. Then, ideas will evolve and by the time we come to the third and fourth events, the audience will have got used to watching sport without crowds, but the tournament organisers and the TV companies will have worked out how to make the product better to watch.

"This is what I mean about appreciating what we can expect. We don't know what to expect."