Padraig Harrington Explains "Covid Envelope" In Place At 2020 Ryder Cup

The European Ryder Cup captain has explained the "Covid envelope" that could come into effect during this year's contest

Ryder Cup Covid envelope

The European Ryder Cup captain has explained the change to the captains' agreement for this year

Padraig Harrington has explained the “Covid envelope” that could come into effect at this year’s Ryder Cup, should a player contract the virus and be forced to withdraw. 

An “envelope rule” has been a part of the captains' agreement at the biennial contest for the last 40 years to cover both teams if one of their players is injured and that rule has now been extended to account for the ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

“There's an injury envelope and there's a Covid envelope, so that's two separate envelopes at this stage,” Harrington clarified. 

“Maybe the same name is in both envelopes. That's as far as I'm aware at this moment.”

The envelopes are well guarded and should nobody fall foul of injury or illness, will be destroyed with the name(s) inside remaining a secret.

“The person that goes in the envelope, the captain decides, and nobody ever knows,” the European skipper added. 

“We hope that stays that way. But we've had a few injury pull-outs over the year, so it would be just very similar to that. No real difference in how it works. 

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“It is possible that you could have two different names. I don't see why that would be the case, but you could have somebody pull out with an injury. You could have somebody with Covid.” 

With four players from both sides sitting out each session on days one and two, such a scenario would normally only affect the final-day singles, and Harrington isn't aware of any plan in place that would account for an outbreak on-site at Whistling Straits this week.

“It's still not completely clear what happens when we have -- if, God forbid, we had a Covid outbreak of a number of players, but for one player it's pretty straightforward.

“This is why we have the Covid protocols. It's not like it's an individual event, whereas if you lost a player in an individual event, while it's not great, certainly you don't want to be catching Covid, but in a team environment you don't want the number of people catching Covid because it affects the actual match.

“This is certainly something that I'm sure that is causing a lot of thought and a lot of time thinking about what would be too many and what would be sustainable. 

“But again, it's not really for the captains. It's more for the running of the event.”

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as,, and

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1