While admitting he understands the financial impact of a postponed Ryder Cup, Rory McIlroy took a firm stance against playing the 2020 edition if fans are not allowed to attend.
"Having a Ryder cup without fans, it's not a Ryder Cup," McIlroy said live on TaylorMade's Instagram account. "I would much rather them delay it until 2021 to play the Ryder Cup than play it at Whistling Straits without fans."
McIlroy added that a spectator-free competition in Wisconsin would be better for the Europeans because they wouldn't have to deal with "abuse" from American supporters. However, the Northern Irishman believes the event would lose elements of what makes it so great.
"It wouldn't be able to create the spectacle, there would be no atmosphere," he said.
The topic of a fan-less Ryder Cup came to the forefront after the PGA Tour released a revised schedule for the 2019-20 season and announced the first four tournaments will be closed to the public.
European captain Padraig Harrington recently said the Ryder Cup will not go ahead without fans, while PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, who represents the American side of the competition, is exploring options to host the event without spectators.
American vice captain Jim Furyk echoed McIlroy's opinion on the important role that fans play in creating the Ryder Cup atmosphere.
"I think all the players, all 24, kind of feed off that energy and excitement," Furyk said on the "CT Scoreboard Podcast." "That energy is what creates a lot of the shots you see and a lot of the emotion you see out of the players."
McIlroy did manage to put a positive spin on the scenario where the 2020 Ryder Cup is postponed for a year.
"If they do delay it until 2021, the next Ryder Cup is supposed to be in Italy and we know how affected Italy was with coronavirus and COVID-19," he said. "So it gives that country an extra year to prepare for the Ryder Cup in '23 instead of '22."
For now, the Ryder Cup is slated to run from Sept. 25-27, the week after the rescheduled U.S. Open at Winged Foot. The Europeans will be looking to defend the trophy after their victory in 2018.