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Padraig Harrington would back 'safe' Ryder Cup behind closed doors

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21:47 18 Mar 2020

Padraig Harrington has told Off The Ball that he would back a behind closed doors Ryder Cup tournament, if safety could be guaranteed.

Harrington joined Off The Ball this evening to discuss the situation surrounding the sport of golf as the world looks to combat the spread of Covid-19.

He spoke as most sports fans are thinking, recognising that public health is absolutely the priority but longing for a distraction, and looked ahead to the prospect of the Ryder Cup being hosted in a state of safety in September.

"I'd be more thinking, wouldn't we love some sport going on now. Most people are stuck at home and would love something to watch on the TV," said Harrington.

"I would go down the road - if it was possible from a health and safety point of view - wouldn't it be great to put something on the television that people could watch? Something to bring  a bit of something else into the day."

Harrington was clear to say that public and players' safety should be the priority, but hopes that we are in a different situation in September to be able to facilitate the Ryder Cup going ahead.

"I think it would be strange [to have a Ryder Cup behind closed doors].

"You could see it happening in that sort of situation where players could be checked - if we are at that stage in September.

"You wouldn't want to take it away from the limited number of tests there are now [...] but there are lots of different types of scenarios that we just cannot envisage right now.

"That is why they haven't cancelled it and are preparing to have it - there really are so many scenarios that could come into play in that time."

Coping with adversity

Harrington also spoke of the ways in which he is attempting to cope with the changing situation in the world and had some advice for others.

"Talk. 100%. Definitely talk to people. Getting it off your chest is definitely a good thing when I'm stressed.

"Limit how much of the news you take in and how much of the social media you draw on. Watching one news programme or reading Twitter for 20 minutes is probably enough.

"Do whatever you can with your family and get away from it.

"Individually, we can only control what we do, we don't have any control over that bigger picture. We just have to listen to what the government is saying, do what we can and hope that it works out"

As with many others, his thoughts are with other people at this difficult time - his mother, in particular.

"My mother is in her 80s - she is the biggest worry for me. My in-laws, too. You are just constantly worried that you are going to bring the disease to them.

"That is the stress [...] if the worst came to the worst, how you would feel about that."

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