This weekend should have seen the 43rd Ryder Cup taking place at Whistling Straits.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the sporting calendar eventually led to the postponement of golf's most prestigious team event.

Team Europe, captained by Padraig Harrington, will instead defend the trophy in a year's time against Team USA, who will be skippered by Steve Stricker.

Here, we take a look at who would have qualified for their respective teams so far if the Ryder Cup were starting on Friday.

TEAM USA:

Qualification process explained:

The PGA of America and team captain Stricker announced a tweak to the qualification process following the pause of the season caused by the pandemic. All points collected since 2019 will continue to stand and the selection criteria will continue to run through the second 2021 FedEx Cup playoff event (the BMW Championship). The top six on the points list will qualify automatically, with Stricker having six captain's picks.

1) Dustin Johnson

A veteran of four Ryder Cups but only one that resulted in an American victory – that coming in 2016 at Hazeltine. Since the PGA Tour resumed, Johnson has been in tremendous form and became champion of the lucrative FedEx Cup.

2) Bryson DeChambeau

A man of unquestionable talent, whose methodical game has not always sat well with pundits and fellow professionals. But after breaking his major duck at the U.S. Open last weekend, even his greatest detractors have to give kudos to DeChambeau, who made his Ryder Cup debut in 2018.

3) Collin Morikawa 

It has been a truly breakout year for 23-year-old Morikawa, who became a major champion by winning the US PGA Championship.  That saw him reach a career-high ranking of fifth (he now sits sixth in the world) and if he can maintain his form, Morikawa will be an exciting Ryder Cup rookie.

4) Brooks Koepka

Injuries have sadly taken a toll on Koepka either side of the coronavirus break but on his day the four-time major winner is unbeatable. A fully fit Koepka, who has appeared at two Ryder Cups, will be a formidable foe for anyone on Team Europe and fans the world over will want to see him firing on all cylinders. 

5) Justin Thomas

Already a major champion by the time he appeared at the 2018 Ryder Cup as a rookie, Thomas was a starring light for a struggling American team as he earned four points on debut. Now established among the game's elite, Thomas will be a main man for Stricker as Team USA aim to regain the trophy.

6) Webb Simpson

A player who has enjoyed a career resurgence and made a third Ryder Cup appearance in 2018 having missed out two years prior. Ranked seventh in the world and with a couple of wins to his name in 2020, Simpson looks a pretty sure bet to play regardless of if he qualifies automatically.

Likely captain's picks?

Stricker has an abundance of talent to choose from and, if qualification ended today, Xander Schauffele would be an almost guaranteed pick. Patrick Reed is next in the standings and, while his talent is undoubted, his seeming struggle to play nicely with others in the team would possibly be a cause of concern for the captain. Tiger Woods is way down in 15th and struggling for form but could a player of his calibre earn a lifeline? The likes of Tony Finau, Daniel Berger and Matthew Wolff would hope to receive a call but Jordan Spieth – down in 25th – needs to find some consistency.

TEAM EUROPE:

Qualification process explained:

For Team Europe, the criteria are different. The process was frozen in July until January, with points earned up until that point remaining valid. The top four in the European points standings qualify, as do the next five highest ranking players on the world points list. Captain Padraig Harrington picks the final three players for the team. Points multipliers may be added to European Tour events closer to the Ryder Cup.

1) Tommy Fleetwood

One half of the 'Moliwood' pairing alongside Francesco Molinari that won hearts, and crucially plenty of points, for a dominant Team Europe in 2018. Fleetwood was in fine form towards the back end of 2019 and the start of 2020 but has struggled since golf returned. Still, with plenty of points accrued and time to find form, Fleetwood looks sure to play.

2) Jon Rahm

Rahm picked up a single point from three matches as a rookie two years ago and will be desperate to make a mark in an event where his Spanish compatriots Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia have become so synonymous. With two wins in 2020 and a brief stop as world number one for the first time, Rahm is now a major European player. 

3) Rory McIlroy

A veteran now of five Ryder Cups, four of which ended in victory, McIlroy will be the leading man in Europe's quest to retain the trophy. He was in flying form prior to lockdown and a top 10 at the U.S. Open suggests McIlroy is again on an upward trajectory.

4) Victor Perez

An outstanding rookie season in 2019, including a win at the Alfred Dunhill Links, has left Perez in a strong position. But struggles in 2020 will have to be solved if he is to be a part of Harrington's team a year from now.

5) Tyrrell Hatton

Having earned a taste of the Ryder Cup two years ago, where he won one point from three matches, Hatton will be desperate to make the team once again. With five top-10s in 2020, including winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he has every chance of doing so.

6) Danny Willett

Having missed seven cuts from his previous 10 events, Willett is a player who will have to raise his game in 2021 to play at a second Ryder Cup.

7) Matthew Fitzpatrick

A rookie during the losing effort in 2016, Fitzpatrick failed to make the team two years ago. At the minute, the Sheffield-born star has his destiny in his own hands. With three top-10s and as many missed cuts in the past six starts, consistency will be key.

8) Lee Westwood

A real veteran of Team Europe, Lee Westwood played in 10 straight Ryder Cups between 1997 and 2016, ending up on the winning side on seven occasions. Even if he fails to make the automatic spots, if he can stay in decent form then his experience could convince Harrington to hand out a captain's pick.

9) Bernd Wiesberger

A three-time European Tour winner in 2019, Wiesberger – who has never played at a Ryder Cup – will be desperate to rediscover that groove to make the team.

Likely captain's picks?

Ryder Cup legends Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter are well off the pace for automatic picks but if either man can hit form at the right time then their experience would likely be too invaluable for Harrington to ignore. Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson are both knocking on the door and would fancy their chances of making the team without the need of a hand from Harrington.

Tiger Woods backed the move to postpone the Ryder Cup to 2021 as he carefully sidestepped the question of whether he could be the next United States captain.

The match between Europe and the USA had been due to take place at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, from September 25 to 27, but the coronavirus pandemic meant it was set back 12 months.

Woods agreed that was the correct decision as he spoke to reporters ahead of this week's Memorial Tournament.

Steve Stricker will lead the United States into that match in September 2021, and Woods will hope to earn a place on the team.

He may be toying with the possibility of leading the American challenge in Italy two years later, having skippered the USA team in the 2019 Presidents Cup.

But Woods was not keen to entertain that question when it was asked of him.

"As far as captaining, we haven't looked that far," he said. "I did my captaincy last year, and it was a lot of work, and I'm sure that I'll look into that in the future."

The 15-time major winner was less oblique when considering the fate of this year's planned Ryder Cup.

"Quite frankly, a Ryder Cup without fans is not the Ryder Cup," Woods said. "As far as I can remember, I've always seen people involved in a Ryder Cup and the chanting and screaming and the participation, the bipartisanship that has been part of the sport and part of the event.

"I think what they did with suspending it for the year and moving it to next year was the right thing. We couldn't have an environment in which we could protect all the fans that were going to be involved and have that type of insurance.

"Obviously if that's the case, you can't have the fans. Well, if you can't have the fans, then it's not the Ryder Cup.

"We did the right thing of holding off for the year, and now from the US side, we're going to have to figure out how we're going to accumulate points, how many players Strick is going to be able to pick and figure that out, and build our team from there."

Ryder Cup results as a player have been anomalous amid the enormous success Woods has enjoyed in his 25-year career, with his record showing 13 wins, 21 losses and three drawn matches from eight appearances on the team.

He lost all four of his matches in Paris two years ago, having been picked as a wildcard by captain Jim Furyk.

Patrick Reed is in full support of the decision taken to delay the Ryder Cup, insisting the presence of fans will make it "even sweeter" when the event takes place in 2021.

Due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Ryder Cup organisers announced this week that the 2020 edition will be pushed back 12 months.

The United States will have home advantage next September when Europe travels to defend the trophy at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, with the action unfolding between September 24-26.

While the PGA Tour has returned behind closed doors, Reed believes the Ryder Cup would not be the same if played out without a packed crowd at the course, as their presence brings out the emotion in the players.

The 29-year-old has experienced both sides of the occasion, too. He has lost twice on European soil, including in 2018 at Le Golf National, but was also a member of the USA team that triumphed in 2016 under the captaincy of Davis Love III.

Speaking after his opening round at the Workday Charity Open, Reed said: "I think probably if you asked everybody - captains, assistant captains, players, both organisations - that they're disappointed, obviously, that we're not going to play Ryder Cup this year, but at the end of the day I feel like they made the right call.

"The Ryder Cup is not the same if you have it at 50 per cent fans or if you have it at no fans. The fans are kind of what makes the Ryder Cup.

"You go in there and you - if you're the home team, you have everyone behind you, and if you're away, you want the hostility, you want people to kind of go at you. That's the fun thing about the event.

"So with either cutting fans back or not having them at all, I also don't think you'll get as much emotion out of players, and with that being said, I feel like it just wouldn't be a Ryder Cup.

"I mean, they made the right decision, and it's just going to be even sweeter whenever we're able to play next year."

The Ryder Cup will continue to take place in odd-numbers years in the future, with the 2023 tournament to be held in Italy.

The postponed Ryder Cup must take place in 2021 at Whistling Straits or it will be cancelled altogether, the CEO of the PGA Seth Waugh has said.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that the United States and defending champions Europe will not compete in the prestigious event this September as planned.

Players had expressed reservations about playing the 43rd edition of the competition without fans present and the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic forced the hands of the PGA and European Tour.

However, if circumstances next year mean the Ryder Cup cannot take place in front of spectators on the new dates of September 21-26, then the likelihood is it will scrapped altogether.

Asked what guarantees there were that it can be staged as normal next year, Waugh told reporters: "None, frankly.

"We think that this is the right thing to do. I would bet on science is what I would say, personally, about the ability to figure out treatments, vacancies or protocols or safety given we have 15 months to do that.

"But there frankly is no guarantee. I certainly wouldn't have thought on March 1 - certainly January 1 - that we'd be having this conversation right now.

"I think this is the best possible decision. Frankly if we do get to this time next year and we can't responsibly hold it, it likely will result in a cancellation at that point.

"I don't think we can perpetually roll things forward, that's not fair to the game, that's not fair to the Presidents Cup or anyone else. We're hopeful that we will hold it but all bets are off in terms of what's going on in the world.

"If I were a betting man, I would bet on science to figure out how to truly reopen the world in 15 months' time."

Waugh said he spoke to American captain Steve Stricker and Europe skipper Padraig Harrington on Tuesday evening and feels the decision has their backing.

"I think they were relieved, happy," he added.

"Steve, on his side, absolutely wants to have it – obviously it's a home game for him, in Wisconsin, he wants to have it in the way he's always dreamed of and it wasn't going to look like that.

"Padraig, I think, different perspective, he's just worried about the safety of everybody travelling here and how difficult that would be.

"I think they're disappointed that we're not able to do it because they build their tempos and those that are qualifying are excited about it, but I think there's relief in the certainty of knowing where we stand."

Jon Rahm declared it to be the "smart choice" to delay the 2020 Ryder Cup, insisting the event would simply not be the same if fans were not able to attend.

Whistling Straits in Wisconsin was due to host this year's battle between the United States and Europe in September, but the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a change in the schedule.

Instead, the next Ryder Cup will take place between September 24-26 in 2021, a move Rahm fully endorses as it will allow spectators to be present at the course.

The Spaniard made his debut in the competition two years ago, securing a point from his three matches as the European team regained the trophy at Le Golf National in France.

"I mean, I'm not shocked," Rahm told the media ahead of playing in this week's Workday Charity Open on the PGA Tour.

"I know a lot of people probably wanted to watch the Ryder Cup, but the Ryder Cup is not the Ryder Cup without spectators.  

"Right now, it doesn't seem like there's a legitimate way to make it safe for everybody, so I think it's the smart choice."

Rahm also outlined the importance of the Ryder Cup is in terms of growing the sport of golf, even if that means having to wait a little longer to experience it again.

"At the end of the day, the Ryder Cup is one of the most viewed events, sporting events in the world, so it's something that brings a lot of attention for the game of golf," he added.

"It's something that grows the game of golf throughout the world. I think it's important that it's done and it's performed and we play the way the Ryder Cup is supposed to be.  

"I'm sad we're not playing this year because I really wanted to play and I think it would have been cool to go from a U.S. Open to a Ryder Cup, but at the same time, it needs to be run the way it's supposed to be run.  

"I think it's a good decision to change it to next year."

The delay has led to a change in the long-term schedule, as the Ryder Cup will take place moving forwards in odd-numbers years. Therefore, the next staging on European soil will be in 2023.

There is also a change to the Presidents Cup, with the 2021 edition at Quail Hollow pushed back to September 2022.

The Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits has been rescheduled to take place in 2021, organisers have confirmed, with the Presidents Cup moving to 2022.

Doubts have persisted about the feasibility of staging the Ryder Cup since the outbreak of coronavirus and on Wednesday a decision was finally taken to push it back a year. 

In a statement, organisers confirmed that the decision "was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County, with the health and well-being of all involved as the top priority". 

Playing the event without fans had been mooted as an option, but instead it is now set to be held on September 21-26 next year with crowds present. 

The knock-on effect means the next edition of the competition in Europe, when Italy plays host, will move back to 2023 as it retains its biennial scheduling. 

The Presidents Cup, which was due to start on September 30 next year at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, will now move to September 19-25, 2022. 

Next year's Wells Fargo Championship will return to Quail Hollow Club but move to TPC Potomac for 2022 to accommodate the Presidents Cup. 

"Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits," said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.

"It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible.

"Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call. As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can to safeguard public health is what matters most.

"The spectators who support both the U.S. and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: "With the uncertainty of the current climate, we fully support the Ryder Cup's decision to delay a year in order to ensure fans could be a part of the incredible atmosphere in Wisconsin.

"And the delay of next year's Presidents Cup was the right decision in order to allow for that option." 

US Team captain Steve Stricker said postponing the Ryder Cup was "the right thing to do under the circumstances".

He added: "At the end of the day, we want to stage a Ryder Cup that will rival all other Ryder Cups in my home state of Wisconsin, and now we have the opportunity to showcase the event as it was meant to be seen."  

European counterpart Padraig Harrington said: "Rescheduling the Ryder Cup was never going to be an easy decision given the many factors to take into consideration.

"But I believe it is the right assessment given the unprecedented circumstances we are facing at this time. 

"When you think of the Ryder Cup you think of the distinctive atmosphere generated by the spectators, such as around the first tee at Le Golf National two years ago.

"If that cannot be responsibly recreated at Whistling Straits in September, then it is correct that we all wait until it can be. 

"I know, right now, that September 2021 feels like a long time away. But it will come around quickly and I guarantee that the European players and I will be ready when it does."

There have been more than 32,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, according to the state's Department of Health Services. 

In total, there have been nearly 3.1million positive tests in the United States, with more than 134,000 deaths among those known to have contracted the virus.

The Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits has been rescheduled to take place in 2021, organisers have confirmed, with the Presidents Cup moving to 2022.

Steve Stricker will make six captain's picks for the United States' Ryder Cup team in an indication the event is set to go ahead.

The PGA Tour is due to resume with the Charles Schwab Challenge this week after an enforced three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the fate of the Ryder Cup – which is scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits between September 25 and 28 – has yet to be confirmed.

USA captain Stricker said last week it would be a "crime" if fans were unable to attend and that the absence of spectators could lead to a "yawner" of an event.

New selection criteria were announced for Team USA on Wednesday, though, with Stricker's choices being bumped up from four to six.

Only one major tournament, the US PGA Championship, will count towards automatic qualification, while points will be accrued through to the BMW Championship at the end of August.

"With all the various changes to the 2020 schedule, it quickly became apparent that we would need to amend our selection criteria," Stricker said via a widely reported PGA of America release.

"After many deliberate discussions, we collectively agreed that a smaller sampling of 2020 events – including just one major championship – would justify a one-week extension of the qualification window and an increase in the number of captain's selections from four to six.

"These changes were sparked by circumstance but conceived with integrity in mind. In the end, we believe they will allow us to put our best team together to compete at Whistling Straits in September."

The Ryder Cup is one of the few sporting events in 2020 that remains on the calendar on its original date.

However, there are major doubts as to whether the contest – scheduled for September – will go ahead amid fears over coronavirus.

A decision has yet to be made, but one possibility is that Whistling Straits will play host to the competition behind closed doors.

It is a topic that has divided opinion, so should the Ryder Cup go ahead without spectators?

Stats Perform News duo Russell Greaves and Peter Hanson have their say...

 

THE SHOW MUST NOT GO ON – GREAVES

Having had the privilege of attending the previous Ryder Cup, I can attest to how much value the fans add to the experience.

And the golfers themselves say as much too – the encouragement of the crowd, and maybe even the occasional jibe, can make all the difference.

Sport is not just about the technical brilliance of its stars, it is about the context in which those protagonists ply their trade and the drama that golf provides at this level is unmatched.

A golfer standing over a putt to win a point, waiting for the noise to die down, gathering his emotions as the assembled masses hold their collective breath... that's what makes this event so special.

Remove the action from that context and you have something less enthralling, less special, less meaningful. Do not devalue this great competition. The show must not go on.


THE RYDER CUP CAN OFFER POSITIVITY AMID THE GLOOM – HANSON

Let's make this abundantly clear from the start: Everyone wants fans in attendance at the Ryder Cup.

No one could coherently argue golf's most famous and spine-tingling team competition would be better with the absence of spectators. The energy, noise and usually good-natured jibing from the galleries is what makes the Ryder Cup one of the greatest spectacles in sport.

But we find ourselves living in unprecedented times. The likelihood of having members of the public through the gates at Whistling Straits diminishes by the day.

If the competition can be held safely, with every precaution taken to protect everyone involved – not just the players, then it should go ahead.

The Ryder Cup can offer positivity amid the gloom. A chance for escapism from a harsh reality, a chance for a semblance of normality, a chance for the world's best to entertain sports-starved fans watching on from the comfort of their homes. 

It is far from the ideal situation, but it is the situation we find ourselves in. The show must go on.


WHAT THE PROS SAID

"This event is made by the fans. If it was without fans, it almost would be a yawner of an event. To cheat out the Wisconsin fans would be a crime," USA captain Steve Stricker told the Golf Affect Radio Show.

"Everyone wants fans to be there, but the question is does sport need the Ryder Cup and should the Ryder Cup take one for the team? It wouldn't be in the Ryder Cup's best interests, but it could be in the best interests of enough people who want to see a big sporting occasion on TV," Europe captain Padraig Harrington speaking to The Times.

"I get the financial implications for everyone involved but having a Ryder Cup without fans, it's not a Ryder Cup. I would much rather them delay it until 2021 to play the Ryder Cup than play it at Whistling Straits without fans," world number one Rory McIlroy said during an Instagram Live with TaylorMade.

"I personally don't want to play if there's no fans. I don't see a point in playing it," Brooks Koepka told Golf Channel.

"I'm not saying 'postpone it' if there's no fans. I want to make that team and if I do, and we have to play it behind closed doors, I'm going to embrace it 100 per cent," Ian Poulter told Sky Sports.

"A Ryder Cup without the spectators is just not a Ryder Cup. It's the one tournament of the year where we're not playing for ourselves, we're playing for Europe, we're playing for the United States, and it's for the fans," Jon Rahm told Sky Sports.

United States captain Steve Stricker says it would be a "crime" if the Ryder Cup is staged behind closed doors at Whistling Straits in September.

Team USA and Europe are due to do battle for the famous trophy in Wisconsin from September 25-27, but the coronavirus pandemic has put the event in doubt.

Staging the biennial showpiece without spectators has been suggested, but Rory McIlroy is among the players who stated that he would prefer it to be postponed than go ahead with no fans.

Stricker also feels that it is vital the public are allowed to watch the action in his home state.

"This event is made by the fans. If it was without fans, it almost would be a yawner of an event," he told the Golf Affect Radio Show.

"To cheat out the Wisconsin fans would be a crime. I hope when we do have it, it can be up to its full potential."

Stricker expects a decision to be made in the next few weeks.

He added: "So far we're planning it as a go, like we’re going to have it. But there's some obstacles that we're going to have to face, I think.

"The confidence of the people and the corporate people. It's going to come down to probably the safety. And who knows, right?

"They're going to have to make a decision here probably within the next two or three weeks because the build-up to put up all the stands and all the corporate tents, all that kind of stuff, has to happen in June."

Rory McIlroy believes this year's Ryder Cup will be postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 43rd meeting between Europe and the United States is due to begin in late September at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The PGA Tour is currently suspended due to the spread of COVID-19, though the plan is for events to resume in mid-June, initially without fans in attendance.

However, world number one McIlroy is against the idea of staging the traditionally raucous Ryder Cup without fans present, which is why he is expecting the authorities to push back the tournament a year.

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

"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."

McIlroy is now based in the United States and expects to play the first three PGA Tour events when the season resumes.

Though The Open was cancelled entirely this year, McIlroy would have no qualms about returning to Europe to play in some of the more prestigious events.

"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," he added.

"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."

Luke Donald believes a Ryder Cup held without spectators could give Europe the edge over the United States.

The biennial contest is due to take place at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin from September 25-27 this year.

Golf has largely been at a standstill during the coronavirus pandemic, but the PGA Tour plans to resume its calendar from June 11, although events are almost certain to be behind closed doors.

If the Ryder Cup can go ahead as planned but spectators are unable to attend, Europe vice-captain Donald thinks it could prove to be a disadvantage to the hosts.

Asked if playing without fans present could benefit Europe, former world number one Donald told the Sky Sports Golf podcast: "It certainly could.

"Obviously, for anyone who watched the exhibition match [involving Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady] last weekend and saw some live golf, there were only four players and there wasn't much energy there.

"I think players feed off the energy, especially the home team. They feed off that positive vibe and the crowd can play a big part, that's why it's always an advantage to be at home.

"If we were to play a Ryder Cup without any fans, then being in America it would be more favourable to the Europeans than the US team."

Davis Love III and Zach Johnson have been named vice-captains of the United States Ryder Cup team.

Two-time captain Love and Johnson join Jim Furyk on skipper Steve Stricker's team for the biennial event, which is due to be staged at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from September 25-27.

Love captained the USA against Europe for a second time in 2016, with the hosts regaining the famous trophy at Hazeltine.

Johnson was also a vice-captain at Le Golf National two years ago, when Europe secured a resounding victory.

Stricker will name additional deputies at a later date, although doubts continue to be raised over whether the competition will go ahead amid the coronavirus crisis.

Captain Stricker said of his latest appointments: "With the Ryder Cup it's important to surround yourself with quality individuals who you can lean on and who have the best interests of the team in mind."

"Jim [Furyk] and I have talked about this a lot in the last year and now we are happy to add two Ryder Cup veterans in Zach and Davis to the conversation with the goal of putting this team in a prime position to win. Both Zach and Davis share a passion to compete at the highest level and are strong communicators, which is important, especially when we’re in the heat of competition."

Love said: "Steve has been such a consistent presence on this team, both as a player and as a vice-captain, and now it's his time to lead.

"He has a terrific vision for what he wants our U.S. team to not only accomplish, but represent, all year long. I'm confident in the program he has in place and am anxious to get to work."

Johnson stressed the importance of the USA making home advantage count in a Ryder Cup that could be staged without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: "It's always an honour to be part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. In a domestic Ryder Cup, it's important to defend 'our turf', and to do so on behalf of Steve - in his home state at Whistling Straits - is a great opportunity for our team to make a statement."

Ian Poulter is adamant the Ryder Cup should go ahead if possible, even if fans are unable to attend.

Like the majority of the sporting world, golf's calendar has been decimated by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Open has already been called off for 2020, while the Masters – which was scheduled for April – has been rearranged until November.

As things stand, the Ryder Cup is still due to go ahead at Whistling Straits in September, though several of golf's top names including Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm have stated their belief the biennial competition between the United States and Europe should not go ahead without spectators present.

However, Poulter, a five-time Ryder Cup victor, has a differing opinion.

"I'm not saying 'postpone it' if there's no fans," Poulter told Sky Sports.

"I want to make that team and if I do, and we have to play it behind closed doors, I'm going to embrace it 100 per cent.

"It will be good for TV. It won't be good from a players' standpoint, there won't be as much fun, because you won't be able to feed off the energy of the fans.

"We would love to see a Ryder Cup with fans. We feed as a team, and we always have, off the fans. So, if you take them away it's going to be an extremely different feeling.

"I'd love to see the world be in a better place by September, and for one of these amazing companies to find a vaccine which would turn this thing on its head very, very quickly. It's not looking likely, but miracles do happen."

Poulter does, though, think alterations will have to be made to the selection process, which as it stands for Europe sees nine players earn qualification from the world and European points list and the captain make three picks.

"There would have to be more picks. People haven't had the opportunity to play since February, and some guys might not have the opportunity to play much golf before August," he added.

"It's up to the European Tour and it's up to Paddy [captain Padraig Harrington] to decide what is the best way to be fair to everyone.

"There are going to be guys that have weathered this storm well and there'll probably be some guys who haven't weathered the storm well.

"A load of guys in the UK I know haven't been playing golf at all and they've just been practicing in a net in the back garden.

"It's not going to be easy to make that selection whether it's 12 picks, six picks, four picks, however they go about it."

Luke Donald has been confirmed as a vice-captain for Europe after Padraig Harrington let slip the Englishman will be part of his team for this year's Ryder Cup.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a suspension of the global golfing calendar, leading to uncertainty over whether the 2020 Ryder Cup, which is due to take place at Whistling Straits in September, will go ahead as planned.

However, Harrington is planning for the event to take place as scheduled, with Sweden's Robert Karlsson already confirmed as one of his assistants.

Europe's captain accidently revealed Donald will be working with the team too, though stopped short of naming him in full while appearing on The Golf Show on Sky Sports on Tuesday.

"I had a phone call with Luke... I nearly said the word there, possibly did say the word there... one of my vice-captains yesterday," he said.

Donald later tweeted "I thought this was meant to be a secret", to which Harrington replied: "Sorry about that. News was too good to keep under wraps! Welcome to the team."

Team Europe later announced the appointment officially on social media.

Harrington also said that while players do not want the Ryder Cup to take place behind closed doors, they may need to "take one for the team" so it can be broadcast for an audience eager for sporting action.

"It's an option that nobody wants to take, and the players don't want it, but we might have to take one for the world team of sport and put an event on that people can watch," he said. 

"It wouldn't be the same for us, obviously, but it's sport on TV that we're all craving. If we see any live sport right now, we'd all be sitting at home watching it."

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