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Rory: I don't think Ryder will happen

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DOUBTS: Rory McIlroy’s hunch is that the Ryder Cup won’t be played this year. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

DOUBTS: Rory McIlroy’s hunch is that the Ryder Cup won’t be played this year. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

Action Images via Reuters

DOUBTS: Rory McIlroy’s hunch is that the Ryder Cup won’t be played this year. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

World number one Rory McIlroy does not think the Ryder Cup will be played this year.

It is currently scheduled to be played September 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, where Europe will be looking to retain the trophy they won in 2018.

But a host of major 2020 sporting events have already been cancelled due to coronavirus and McIlroy thinks the Ryder Cup will suffer the same fate.

"My personal hunch is that I don't see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen," McIlroy told BBC Sport NI.

"I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special.

"The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don't want to play then there is no Ryder Cup.

"I see it being pushed back until 2021 and, honestly, I think that will be the right call."

The PGA Tour is set to resume on June 11, with McIlroy already confirming he will play the first three dates.

The 31-year-old also said he would have no issues returning to the European Tour later in the year.

"It's a tough one. There are a lot of things up in the air, but if there are some big events in autumn time, then I can," McIlroy said.

"Maybe if Wentworth gets moved to October, which they are thinking of, then I could see myself going over and playing that event.

"I was just as disappointed as everyone else that the Open got cancelled this year. I think it would have been a good date in September if we were able to play it.

"I wouldn't have concerns about travelling to Europe. I think if you stick to the guidelines then I don't see any reason why we should feel scared to travel."

Meanwhile, Lee Westwood is optimistic that the European Tour's planned resumption at the Betfred British Masters will go ahead in July.

Westwood will host the tournament at Close House, which is scheduled to be the first European Tour event since the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation or postponement of 17 competitions.

Speaking on the Golf Show on Sky Sports, Westwood revealed preparations for the event from July 30-August 2 were on track.

He said: "We're all ready to welcome everybody for the British Masters in July.

"The course is already in fantastic condition as you'd expect. They've had seven or eight weeks without any play so the green staff have been able to do some good work.

"I've seen a massive change in the condition of the greens over the last couple of weeks since the weather got better.

"It's an exciting time getting the course ready and hopefully it will be the start of the European season kicking off. Hopefully it will be a great tournament and a great finish and a great way to start off the season again. I'm sure everybody is keen to see some live golf."

The PGA Tour is planning a June return but Westwood has decided to focus on the European circuit due to quarantine regulations.

European Tour bosses are reportedly considering hosting several consecutive events in the United Kingdom to ease travel difficulties in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

With the possibility of spending two weeks before and after each US event in quarantine, Westwood has no intention of crossing the Atlantic in the near future.

"It wasn't a tough decision at all," he added. "I'm not a member of the PGA Tour at the moment so I was going to be playing on a top 50 in the world exemption and the quarantine laws are quite strict so it made no sense to go there.

"The longer I can hold off getting on an aeroplane the better; I don't feel comfortable travelling and June's a bit soon for me so I'm happy to sit it out."

Westwood is currently on course to qualify for September's Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits - if it goes ahead as planned. However, Westwood admitted he is keen to take over from Padraig Harrington as Europe's captain for the 2022 edition in Italy.

"I'd love to be captain," Westwood said. "I think Italy I'll be nearly 50 years of age and that'll probably be the right time but I'm sure there are other people that want the captaincy."