The Ryder Cup should not be held this year if it reaches a stage where captains choose all 12 players and fans are unable to attend, according to Chris DiMarco.

Golf's calendar has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic with the PGA and European Tours suspended, while the Masters and US PGA Championship have been postponed.

It appears certain the U.S. Open and The Open will follow suit and the Ryder Cup, scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits between September 25-27, is also under threat.

This week, Europe captain Padraig Harrington insisted the biennial competition should go ahead if it is safe even if it meant he had to pick his entire team.

DiMarco twice represented the United States in golf's most prestigious team event, ensuring his qualification for the team in 2004 with a runner-up showing at the US PGA Championship, which coincidentally was also hosted at Whistling Straits.

And DiMarco believes points should be retained and carried over to a qualification process for a Ryder Cup taking place in 2021.

"No, I don't think that either," DiMarco told Stats Perform when asked if the event should proceed even if the captains had to choose all 12 players.

"[For me], the most important thing at the 2004 US PGA was to make that Ryder Cup team. 

"I just think if it gets cancelled this year and they play it in 2021, the points should just continue for another year and just keep it continuing, nobody can pick this year and then just go as if it was a three-year qualification. 

"That's the fairest for everybody and I think that way the guys who have played great get to keep their points and it still gives guys a chance to make that team. 

"I think the eight players who qualify and the four captain's picks, that's the way it should be."

Harrington has also advocated playing the Ryder Cup behind closed doors if it is deemed unsafe for spectators to attend.

However, DiMarco feels having fans in attendance is crucial, not least because it gives the home side an advantage.

"I don't think the Ryder Cup should be played without fans, I think it's a disservice," added DiMarco, who also played for USA in 2006. 

"I get the other tournaments, I guess you can say it is what it is. But it wouldn't be fair to the home team the fact they wouldn't be allowed to have fans. 

"So, I think as big as the Ryder Cup is the fans are as big a part of that as anything. Yes, it's 24 players and the captains and the co-captains and all that and they can go out and do it, but without those roars you hear around the course it just wouldn't be the same. I think it's the one thing [in golf] – [American] football is the same, you can't watch a football game without fans you just can't do it. 

"The Ryder Cup has to have its fans there, when it's on home turf you have to have that home-field advantage and the fans are that home-field advantage. 

"If it comes to that point where they say there won't be any fans I don't think it should be played."

Padraig Harrington insists the Ryder Cup must go ahead if possible and Europe's captain said he will pick all 12 players if that is what it takes for the event to take place.

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the sporting calendar, with the PGA and European Tours suspended.

Both the Masters and US PGA Championship have already been postponed, while it remains to be seen if the U.S. Open and The Open will go ahead.

Qualifying for the Ryder Cup has been compromised as a result and some have called for the September event to be put back by a year.

However, Harrington says the show must go on at Whistling Straits if the situation has improved enough by then.

"We're playing on, if at all possible, because the merit of getting out there and showcasing our sport far outweighs a perfect qualifying system," he told Sportsmail.

"It wouldn't worry me if we were the first tournament back and I had to go with 12 picks with no qualifying. In many ways, it would be perfect if the Ryder Cup was the first tournament back. 

"Just 12 guys from Europe and 12 from America, with no prize money at stake and competing just for the glory? Wouldn't that be a nice way for sport to start back?

"I look at it this way. Imagine if they showed a live game from the National League in football on television tonight. The whole of Britain and Ireland would be watching.

"That's the power of live sport, and how much we're missing it. Multiply that by so many times and you get to the scale of the Ryder Cup. 

"Don't we have a duty and a responsibility to try to hold it? Qualifying can always be sorted out.

"I'm a reasonable person when it comes to preparing for all eventualities but how could you have foreseen anything so horrifying?

"We've got all our different scenarios but none of them really add up to anything important in the real world. But we go on, and we're trying to be ready. If we can play, we'll be there, and I know the PGA of America are on the same page."

Harrington also offered his thoughts on what will happen with this season's majors, adding: "I have an inside track regarding the Ryder Cup and I can tell you our date is set in stone and the other authorities are working around us. 

"But I'm not privy to other details. If you're asking me as a pro, I'd say the Open will move from July to a later date rather than be cancelled, and there must be a strong chance there will be two majors played back-to-back."

The Irish Open is the latest European Tour event to be postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been no European Tour action since the Qatar Masters at the start of March with much of the sports world in lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell was set to host the Irish Open at Mount Juliet Estate from May 28-31, but the second Rolex Series event of the year was cancelled on Monday.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “The decision to postpone the Irish Open follows consultation with all stakeholders and was made with public health and well-being as our absolute priority.

"Our thoughts are with everyone right now and we are all united in trying to fight the spread of the pandemic.

"With this in mind, we will continue to evaluate all aspects of our 2020 European Tour schedule, and discussions on the rescheduling of postponed events will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation."

McDowell said: "As important as the Irish Open is to all of us, everyone's health is our only concern. My thoughts are with everyone affected by the crisis and I hope everyone keeps safe and well during these difficult times."

World number one Rory McIlroy was also due to be in the field in a tournament that Jon Rahm won for a second time last year.

Organisers of this year's Open say their focus is on the event "proceeding as planned" despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Golf has been impacted by the spread of the virus, with the Masters and US PGA Championship, scheduled for April and May, having been postponed and the PGA and European Tours put on hold.

This year's Open is due to take place from July 16-19 this year at Royal St George's and it is hoped the competition will take place as planned.

However, organisers the R&A are keeping their options open, having decided to cancel two international amateur events scheduled for next month.

A statement released on Thursday said: "We are undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of our plans to stage The 149th Open at Royal St George's and the AIG Women's British Open at Royal Troon, which are four and five months away respectively. This includes examining a range of scenarios for staging the championships, with our focus on proceeding as planned, as well as considering other contingency options available to us."

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said: "Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety of players, fans, officials, staff and all involved in our championships and that will be at the forefront of our thinking as we monitor developments.

"We have some time before we start building the infrastructure at both venues and so we are keeping the scheduled dates in place for The Open and AIG Women's British Open at this point. We recognise that this is a rapidly changing situation and we will keep everyone informed of any changes to our plans. These are difficult times but we are bearing in mind our responsibility for what's right for golf and most importantly for society."

Last year's event was won by Shane Lowry at Royal Portrush - his first triumph at one of golf's four majors.

Elite-level sport has been paused across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic that now has over 150,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, competitions have steadily been halted over recent weeks.

Each of Europe's top five football leagues are off, along with the Champions League, while the NBA came to a sudden stop on Wednesday.

Motorsport was hit as Formula One's Australian Grand Prix was postponed, while cricket, tennis, golf, hockey and, initially to a lesser extent, rugby all also took stock.

In a peculiar period with a vastly reduced sporting schedule, a number of stars were therefore left to make alternative plans.

Reigning NBA MVP and leading 2019-20 candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo did not last long before he commented on the boredom he was enduring in the absence of basketball.

The Greek Freak posted on Twitter late on Friday: "If this is how my life is going to be after basketball, I'm not retiring for a long time. #25yearCareer"

Antetokounmpo tagged his girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger, who replied: "You will literally drive me crazy so the longer the better."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was revelling in some family time, however, marking Friday 13 by watching a horror movie.

James then filmed his children as they performed a dance for their TikTok accounts, which their famous father promoted on his Instagram story.

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton found a different way to spend his time as the start of the new season was delayed, meanwhile.

"Gutted to not be qualifying today," he wrote on Saturday. "I decided to stick around Melbourne and go indoor rock climbing. It's a great way for me to keep focused."

Hamilton may not have been out on the track, but European Tour golfer Matthias Schwab was – virtually.

The Austrian shared a clip as he multi-tasked, playing a motorsport videogame while keeping fit on his exercise bike.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid had been due to take to the field on Friday before LaLiga went into lockdown, but Sergio Ramos entertained himself and his family.

The Madrid captain uploaded an image to his Instagram story of he and two of his children sporting matching hairstyles.

Ramos added two hashtags, reading, "I stay at home," "We stay at home".

Inter's on-loan Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez was among the other players left to train at home, and he called his dogs in to help.

The Chile international posted a video, set to Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun, as he juggled a ball with his dogs in pursuit.

The 2020 Masters has been postponed due to health concerns related to the spread of coronavirus, organisers have confirmed.

Golf's first major of the year was scheduled to take place at Augusta National between April 9-12, with Tiger Woods set to defend the title he memorably won in 2019.

On March 4, Augusta National Golf Club issued a memo stating it planned to stage the Masters and its associated Augusta National Women's Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals as planned.

However, all events have now been called off until further notice.

"Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances," a statement from club chairman Fred Ridley read.

"Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision. We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date."

The Masters' move follows that of the PGA Tour, which cancelled all events preceding the tournament.

Initially, the tour intended to stage events behind closed doors, before opting for a stronger course of action that began with the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass being abandoned after one round.

Wednesday has seen the coronavirus outbreak take further toll on sport across the world.

Further matches have been postponed while others appear unable to go ahead due to increased travel restrictions between affected countries.

Governing bodies are also taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by cancelling planned meetings, while others are calling for further changes to the calendar.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

Football's governing body has decided to cancel the next FIFA Congress in Addis Ababa on June 5. It has also pushed back the coming FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, due to be on March 20, until June or July. Attendees may be required to join via a video link.

In France, the Coupe de la Ligue final on April 4 between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been postponed. The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said a new date would be announced in due course. It means the PSG-Metz and Lyon-Nimes Ligue 1 matches will be moved to the weekend of April 4-5 but be held behind closed doors. PSG will have Kylian Mbappe available against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, though: the striker is in the squad after overcoming illness, with L'Equipe among those to report he had tested negative for coronavirus.

Germany has seen the first confirmed instance of a footballer contracting coronavirus. Hannover defender Timo Hubers has tested positive but been praised by the club for his "absolutely exemplary" behaviour, as he immediately self-isolated before coming into contact with the rest of the squad.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will face Union Berlin on Saturday behind closed doors, and the latter's derby with Hertha Berlin on March 21 will take place under the same circumstances. Borussia Monchengladbach have urged fans not to gather outside the stadium ahead of Wednesday's match with Cologne.

FIFPro, the footballers' union, has urged governing bodies across the world "to respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures including suspending training or competitions". Steps are certainly being taken in Spain, where the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues to be called off for two weeks. The RFEF will reportedly meet with league officials to discuss similar proposals for LaLiga and the Segunda Division.

Meanwhile, Roma's match with Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday is off after the Italian club confirmed they had not been given permission by the government to fly to Andalusia. Getafe had already refused to travel for their game with Inter in Italy.

The big news in England was that Manchester City versus Arsenal was called off as a precaution after the Gunners came into contact with Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who announced on Tuesday that he had caught the disease. In general, though, the UK has not been following the same stringent protocols as some other European nations and that is continuing for now. Arsenal's match with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday has not been called off, while England's planned friendlies at Wembley this month against Italy and Denmark are, at present, going ahead. Forest have also confirmed all players and staff have tested negative for coronavirus.

In Scotland, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says the domestic season must be completed, even if behind closed doors, "because people have earned the opportunity to get to the stage where everyone is at". League chief executive Neil Doncaster claimed last week that completing the Premiership season could become "very difficult".

The England and Wales Cricket Board has told supporters "to maintain good levels of hygiene" during England's tour of Sri Lanka. As a precaution, players and staff have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

In Bangladesh, the World XI v Asia XI matches that would have marked the birthday celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have been postponed, while the Indian Open has been called off following a consultation between the Indian Golf Union, the European Tour, the Asian Tour and tournament sponsors.

MotoGP has also announced that the Argentina Grand Prix has been moved to November. The opening race of the season in Qatar and the Grand Prix of the Americas have already been rescheduled.

David Drysdale's lengthy wait for a maiden European Tour win was extended in agonising fashion as Jorge Campillo came out on top following a remarkable five-hole play-off at the Qatar Masters.

Overnight leader Campillo initially threw away a glorious opportunity to win the tournament as he followed a dropped shot on the 16th with a double-bogey at the 17th in regulation play to slip back to 13 under.

Drysdale, seeking a first win in his 498th start on tour, narrowly missed a 10-footer for the win on the par-four 18th but twice looked set to prevail when he and Campillo repeatedly returned to the same hole for a play-off.

However, although the Scot - who shot 71 to his rival's 72 on Sunday - twice produced perfect drives and outstanding approaches to secure back-to-back birdies on a hole that had previously yielded only six gains all day, Campillo dramatically prolonged the contest by sinking two lengthy putts for threes of his own.

In fading light at Education City GC, both men then parred 18 on two occasions before Campillo again made birdie, courtesy of another fine putt, and earned the title as Drysdale failed to convert a subsequent effort from around 15 feet.

The end result brought joy for Campillo - and a second European Tour crown on his 250th start - but was painfully cruel for Drysdale given his superb efforts over the extra holes.

Jeff Winther led at the turn on the final day, but he finished a shot adrift of the leading pair after dropping three shots on the back nine.

Winther was joined on 12 under by Kalle Samooja and Niklas Lemke, the latter shooting a six-under 65 to surge up the leaderboard.

Jorge Campillo heads into the final day at the Qatar Masters with a one-shot lead after retaining his place at the top of the leaderboard, moving to 14 under par.

The Spaniard shared the lead with Andy Sullivan going into Saturday, but the latter's one-over 72 leaves him five shots adrift and seemingly out of the hunt.

Campillo almost carded a third successive 66, but a bogey on the par-three 15th – his second dropped shot on the back nine – and a subsequent run of three pars put paid to that, with a round of four-under 67 enough to keep him in control.

An impressive outing from David Drysdale has him in contention and hot on Campillo's heels, however.

The Scot, who has never won in 497 European Tour tournaments, recorded a brilliant, unblemished 64 to leave him just a shot off Campillo with Denmark's Jeff Winther, whose compatriot Benjamin Poke sat a further stroke behind.

Campillo acknowledged he could have put himself into a better position had he not dropped two shots after the turn, but he hopes the experience of winning a tournament in the past will stop the nerves getting the better of him on Sunday.

"It was tough, especially the last four holes into the wind, so it wasn't playing easy at all," Campillo said. "The front nine wasn't windy, it was playing easy, and the back nine was tough. I missed a few short putts but overall a good last three holes.

"I am in a good position for tomorrow [Sunday] but still 18 holes to go. It's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but I am glad about the position I am in right now, because I wasn't playing good, so being leader after three days after the last few weeks is nice.

"If I had not won a golf tournament already I would've been a little bit nervous coming into tomorrow, but since I have won it's a little bit more familiar, so I will still be a little nervous but hopefully tomorrow I can play as good as today and win."

Pablo Larrazabal enjoyed the round of the day, going around in just 63 – the equal lowest score of the week. But what was most impressive was his back nine, needing just 29 shots to tie the course record.

The 36-year-old is three shots off the lead, having been hindered by an opening round of 72, but he heads into the final day with his tail up.

Alexander Bjork is also on 11 under with Larrazabal, though he lost a little ground on Campillo as he carded a 69 on Saturday.

Jorge Campillo and Andy Sullivan shared the lead at the end of day two at the Qatar Masters, with rounds of 66 leaving them both on 10 under.

Sullivan impressed during the morning at the Education City Golf Club, his second successive five-under-par round initially appearing enough to end the day out in front as he searches for only his second top-10 finish of the season.

But Campillo avoided dropping a single shot as he also carded back-to-back rounds of 66, joining Sullivan at the top of the leaderboard.

Danish teenager Nicolai Hojgaard led at the end of the opening round, his impressive seven-under putting him in charge, but the 18-year-old could not maintain that standard on Friday, going round in a level-par 71.

Sullivan has put his display so far down to focus and not letting his mind wander.

"I feel like I have grown up a little bit now on the golf course," Sullivan said. "I think that having a laugh on the golf course is all well and good, and I still enjoy it but, for me, I have really had to knuckle down the past two days to keep myself in check because there are times when I find myself wandering.

"It has been difficult and it is something new for me, trying to keep focused for so long. Normally I drift in and out a little bit but it's been really good and positive signs as the golf has been really good."

Undoubtedly the round of the day came from Alexander Bjork.

The Swede carded 63, the lowest score of the week and of his career on the European Tour putting him one stroke behind the leaders.

But he is not the only one who is just a shot adrift of the top two – Bjork is joined by compatriot Marcus Kinhult, Joost Luiten, Oliver Fisher and Romain Langasque, the latter delighting with a remarkable hole-out eagle over water from a fairway bunker on the 13th.

Defending champion Justin Harding improved on his opening-round 70 by three shots, but he is still five adrift of the pacesetters.

Teenager Nicolai Hojgaard lit up the back nine on day one of the Qatar Masters to take a one-shot lead.

The 18-year-old Dane, runner-up behind Sergio Garcia at the KLM Open last season, started with a seven-under 64 to hit the front at Education City Golf Club.

Hojgaard hit the turn in 35, then birdied seven of the next eight holes before a second bogey of a stunning opening round ensured he had to settle for the slenderest of advantages.

Joost Luiten is hot on Hojgaard's heels after signing for a six-under 65 in Doha.

The Dutchman dropped just one shot at the eighth in a promising start to the tournament.

Hojgaard's compatriot Jeff Winther is among six players two shots off the lead along with Lorenzo Gagli, who finished in a share of 10th place at the Oman Open last week after being withdrawn before the first round prior to a negative coronavirus test.

Andy Sullivan, Carlos Pigem, Thomas Pieters and Jorge Campillo also carded 66s on Thursday.

Defending champion Justin Harding and Sami Valimaki, winner of his maiden title in Oman last weekend, are six strokes adrift of Hojgaard.

 

Tiger Woods is among the 10 finalists put forward for the 2021 World Golf Hall of Fame.

All-time great Woods is one of four male candidates, with three-time major Padraig Harrington also nominated alongside American duo Johnny Farrell and Tom Weiskopf.

Woods won his 15th major title at last year's Masters, which ended an 11-year drought to win one of golf's big four.

Susie Maxwell Berning, Beverly Hanson, Sandra Palmer and Dottie Pepper are the female candidates put forward, while Tim Finchem and Marion Hollins complete the 10 in the contributor section.

A player or contributor requires 75 per cent approval of the selection committee to make the Hall of Fame.

The age of eligibility was lowered from 50 to 45, meaning Woods qualifies in December.

"The nominating committee has selected 10 finalists who represent the highest caliber of golfers and contributors," said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of World Golf Foundation. 

"The recent enhancements to the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction criteria provide a great process to ensure the most worthy of candidates are being considered. 

"We are grateful to the nominating committee for their work and anticipate the class of 2021 being one of our strongest to date."

Sami Valimaki prevailed in a play-off with Brandon Stone at the Oman Open to claim a maiden European Tour title in just his sixth start.

Both players had been part of a six-way tie for the lead going into the final round, with windy conditions at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat making for an eventful Sunday finish to proceedings.

Frenchman Adrien Saddier set the clubhouse score on 12 under, with Stone then seizing top spot when he sunk a birdie putt from off the green at the 18th.

However, the South African was soon joined on 13 under when Valimaki found the cup with a long-range effort of his own at the same green, meaning a play-off was required to decide who would be crowned champion.

Following successive pars at the 18th from both, Stone's wayward approach on the third attempt at the same hole handed his rival the advantage. The Finn duly held his nerve, a final four good enough for glory.

"It's awesome," the 21-year-old said. "There are not many words to say, it's unbelievable."

Saddier finished alone in third place, with Italian Guido Migliozzi - who had held the lead after the opening round - and Valimaki's compatriot Mikko Korhonen a further shot back on 11 under.

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