Chances are few for a player to represent his or her country in a sports competition. That’s particularly timely as the Olympic Games approach next week (Games that have already been postponed a year, no less). The Junior Ryder Cup stands as one of those big opportunities for junior golfers, but in light of lingering COVID-19 concerns, the PGA of America has canceled that competition for this fall.
The PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe made the joint announcement on Tuesday morning, citing “ongoing travel issues for the European Junior Ryder Cup party.”
The match would have taken place at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, from Sept. 20-21. The Ryder Cup is still scheduled for Sept. 24-26 at Whistling Straits in nearby Kohler, Wisconsin. According to a PGA of America statement, plans remain in place for a full spectator presence “under the guidance of public health authorities.”
Last week, Caleb Surratt earned his spot on the team by winning the PGA Junior Championship and Bryan Lee, who was part of a three-way tie for second, won a playoff for a second spot.
While there won’t be an official competition against their counterparts from Europe, U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team members still will play an exhibition match at Whistling Straits on Sept. 22. The team will also be introduced at the Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony and invited to watch Friday’s Ryder Cup competition.
Traditionally, Junior Ryder Cuppers have had quite a bit of face time with Ryder Cup members. The junior squad – which includes six girls and six boys – is also a pretty accurate indicator of who might be selected to future Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup teams. Past junior players who later appeared on those teams include Lexi Thompson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.