Ryder Cup 2021: Covid contingency in place at Whistling Straits

Measures to cope with one player being hit with Covid-19 are in place for this week’s Ryder Cup but no decision has yet been made about what would happen if that turned into an influx.

Padraig Harrington holds the Ryder Cup during a team photo prior to the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.
Padraig Harrington holds the Ryder Cup during a team photo prior to the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

“Yes, there's lots of protocols,” revealed European captain Padraig Harrington in reply to being asked if he had an agreement in place with US counterpart Steve Stricker should Covid raise its head at Whistling Straits.

“So, just like an injury name in the envelope, there's a Covid name in the envelope. That's two separate envelopes at this stage. Maybe the same name is in both envelopes. That's as far as I'm aware at this moment.”

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Should a player on the opposing team test positive and be forced to miss the singles on Sunday, the player named in the envelope would be the one to also miss out.

“Obviously the first two days four players sit out, so there's no issues on those two days, but obviously on Sunday you start losing a few players to Covid, it does affect the match in some way,” added Harrington.

“While we've asked, it's still not completely clear what happens if, God forbid, we had a Covid outbreak of a number of players and how many is too many with Covid, but for one player it's pretty straightforward.

“The other issue is actually quite a detailed and complicated issue and is possibly above the pay grade of the two captains,and this is why we have the Covid protocols.”

On the first official practice day, Harrington sent out his three rookies in separate groups, with Shane Lowry playing with Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Jon Rahm.

Bernd Wiesberger was in the company of English trio Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick and Ian Poulter while Viktor Hovland had Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood in his group.

“You can't pick guys after three years and expect the practice rounds to determine what goes on on the Friday,” said Harrington as he hinted his pairings will almost certainly come from those groups.

“My picks are definitely based on the right partnerships, what we would have had in mind and, as we've got here, narrowed down even further.

“I wouldn't think a lot is changing in my head and my vice captains' head between now and Friday, no.”

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