‘COVID Envelope’ could make Ryder Cup debut this week

·2 min read

HAVEN, Wis. – Just as the Ryder Cup has a plan to deal with injured players, it now has an arrangement if a player contracts COVID-19 and is unable to play.

It’s called the “COVID Envelope.”

Due to the captain’s agreement for the 43rd Ryder Cup – which was delayed one year because of the global pandemic – each captain ahead of Sunday’s singles action will put the names of three players in an envelope in case someone on the other team can’t play due to a positive COVID-19 test.

It’s similar to when a player is injured and can’t play singles; the captain places the name of one player in an envelope, and in the event the other side’s player can’t play, the player in the envelope would not play and the match would be recorded as a half.

The envelopes would only come into play for Sunday. On the first two days of play, four players sit out in each of the four sessions. Thus, if there is an injured player or if a player tests positive for COVID, a substitute is at the ready.

Also according to the captains’ agreement, any player who tests positive for COVID, even while playing a match, is immediately ineligible for the remainder of that match and the remainder of the Ryder Cup.

If there is an injury or a COVID positive test before the matches begin, a player not on the roster could replace the player.

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Each of the 24 players and caddies tested for COVID-19 before traveling to and then upon arrival at Whistling Straits, the PGA of America said. There have been no positive tests.

“There’s lots of protocols. So just like an injury name in the envelope, there’s a COVID name in the envelope. While we’ve asked, it’s still not completely clear what happens if we have, God forbid, a COVID outbreak of a number of players, but for one player it’s pretty straightforward,” Europe captain Padraig Harrington said Tuesday at Whistling Straits. “There’s an injury envelope and there’s a COVID envelope, so that’s two separate envelopes at this stage.

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

According to the captain’s agreement, that scenario would be addressed by the PGA of American and Ryder Cup Europe.