The Irishman is optimistic that this year's event will go ahead, saying it could be close to normal

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Padraig Harrington: “Ryder Cup Could Be Close To Normal”

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington is optimistic that this year’s match will go ahead and could even be close to normal.

The Irishman tees it up in Dubai this week with around eight months remaining until his European side are scheduled to tee it up at Whistling Straits.

The Ryder Cup was postponed last year for the first time since 2001 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with big-name players like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka all voicing their concerns about it taking place without fans.

So, what will this year’s event look like?

Harrington is certainly optimistic that it will be a match that excites the players this time around, saying it is “full steam ahead” from the discussions he is having.

He says it will be a “seriously, seriously big party” if the Ryder Cup does go ahead with a full allocation of fans.

“I read up personally on everything that’s happening and I’m very interested in it, but you know, when it comes to public opinion, I’m certainly no scientist,” the Irishman said.

“You just can’t predict what it’s going to be like in September.

“I assume everybody goes through highs and lows thinking that, hey, it’s all going to be over soon, and then it’s not going to be over.

“I think 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 Tour will do the planning, or The European Tour Ryder Cup and The PGA of America will do the planning for all contingencies.

“But as a captain, it’s above my pay grade, and it’s just about getting my team ready.

“There’s no doubt there’s going to be a Ryder Cup this year.

“I just, well, can’t say that either, but you know, 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, that it could be close to normal, you know, in some sense.

Related: 7 reasons why the Ryder Cup postponement was good news

“But you know, it’s just outside my pay grade. I don’t get to make a decision on that.

“We have to turn up and play with what we are presented with, and that’s very much the case at 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 within reason, everything is going to be able to go ahead as normal, in whatever the new normal is, I think is the way we’ll look at it.

“I know if it does go ahead with full spectators and things like that, it will be a seriously, 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.”

Related: Ian Poulter on Rory McIlroy criticism – “It’s ridiculous”