Koepka raises notion of not playing a Ryder Cup without fans

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FILE - In this Sunday, July 15, 2018, file photo, Steve Stricker hits on the ninth fairway during the final round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Stricker now gets six captain's picks for his U.S. Ryder Cup team, and qualifying has been extended by one week. The changes announced Wednesday, June 10, 2020, account for golf not being played for three months during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka feels so strongly against a Ryder Cup without fans that he could see a scenario where some players protested by not playing.

Would he be one of them?

“Possibly,” Koepka said Wednesday.

Rory McIlroy doesn't think it will come to that. The world's No. 1 player has said on various podcasts that the Ryder Cup, scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, should not be played if fans can't attend.

So when asked if he would consider not playing if fans couldn't attend, McIlroy replied, “I'm pretty sure they won't carry on without spectators, so I don't think that would have to be an option that I would have to consider.”

He spoke with conviction and said he has been in constant conversations with European Tour chief Keith Pelley, PGA of America officials and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. McIlroy, like Koepka, is a two-time PGA champion.

“I think there's enough people within the game that don’t want the Ryder Cup to happen without fans,” McIlroy said. “That’s why I sort of have this conviction that it wouldn’t happen if fans wouldn’t be allowed. ... So that’s why it’s either going to be played this year with fans, if we can do that, or going to have to figure out kicking it down the road to a later date.”

Even with so much emphasis on the PGA Tour returning amid the COVID-19 pandemic this week at the Charles Schwab Challenge, the Ryder Cup remains part of the conversation.