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Harrington hopeful of party atmosphere at Ryder Cup

European captain Padraig Harrington remains hopeful that this year's Ryder Cup will play out in front of packed galleries. 

The 43rd meeting of the United States and Europe is scheduled for Whistling Straits, Wisconsin in late September.

Speaking ahead of this week's Dubai Desert Classic, Harrington was wary of attaching himself to absolutes.

But he is confident fans will be able to play some part in proceedings come September 24.

"I assume everyone goes through highs and lows thinking 'hey, it's all going to be over soon' and then 'it's not going to be over', he told a press conference.

"The only thing I can do as a Ryder Cup captain is prepare myself and my team as best I can with the idea that it's full-steam ahead.

"I know the European Ryder Cup and the PGA of America will do the planning for all emergencies."

The three-time Major-winner is happy to leave those in charge to worry about the logistics of the tournament.

"There's no doubt there's going to be a Ryder Cup this year....well, I can't say that either.... but, within all reason, the Ryder Cup will be there and played.

"And I suspect, because of being later in the year - being after the summer, it could be close to normal in some sense.

"It's just outside my pay-grade. I don't get to make a decision on that. I've got to turn up and play - as every golfer - we've got to turn up and play with whatever we're presented with. That's very much the case with the Ryder Cup.

"But I think, from the discussions I'm having, from the work I'm doing - it is full-steam ahead as if everything is going to be able to go ahead as normal - whatever the new normal is."

Harrington says the best-case scenario could provide one of the most joyous Ryder Cups ever staged.

"I know if it does go ahead with full spectators, and things like that," he said, "It will be a seriously big party.

"I think the relief for people to get out there and go to a sporting event of that magnitude will be palpable, and I'm sure the players will appreciate it.

"Maybe I'm being hopeful, but that's exactly what I want to see."

Rightly or wrongly, the NFL is planning to have 22,000 fans in attendance at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for Super Bowl LV.

So it would appear, with eight months to go, American sporting events are going to acclimatise to taking place in front of reduced capacities.

And Harrington would be very happy if that proves to be the case in Wisconsin.

"100 per cent," the Stackstown man said, "At the end of the day there is now wiggle room this time - I don't believe there is wiggle room - for pushing this back.

"It's full-steam ahead.

"I suppose I could've said the same thing this time last year that I was planning full-steam ahead to go ahead and deal with all contingencies as they came along.

"We're in the same boat now, but I'm an optimist.

"I believe we will be good to go in a capacity for sure that the players will want to be there and enjoy it."

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