Golf-'Greatest Ryder Cup' ever set for Whistling Straits - PGA

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FILE PHOTO: Ryder Cup - 2020 Ryder Cup Press Conference

By Andrew Both

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Reuters) - The PGA of America is ready to stage the "greatest Ryder Cup in history" this year, CEO Seth Waugh said on Tuesday.

The biennial event between the United States and Europe was postponed in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus and has been rescheduled for Sept. 24-26 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Whether a capacity crowd will be allowed remains an open question due to ever-changing state and local regulations, but falling coronavirus cases in most of the U.S., including Wisconsin, since a vaccine roll out has left Waugh optimistic.

"We're working obviously with the state and local governments to have all those conversations... But our plan is to have it be the greatest Ryder Cup in history," Waugh said at Kiawah Island, two days before the PGA Championship starts.

"This is really going to be the first time (since the coronavirus) to cheer for your country, to have that sort of tribal atmosphere that is so important.

"I realise the world still has a lot of challenges out there, but from a U.S. perspective we're really hopeful we'll be able to pull it off. I think the world, as we've seen, is ready to have a party."

PGA of America chief championships officer Kerry Haigh added the organisation hoped to have a full house for the Ryder Cup.

"If it were today we could not based on where COVID numbers are, but certainly with the vaccine and the numbers coming down, we are very hopeful and optimistic that we will be able to have a full attendance," he said.

Steve Stricker (U.S.) and Padraig Harrington (Europe) are the captains for an event that has seen the most heated team rivalry in golf since Europe become competitive in the 1980s.

Perhaps no Ryder Cup was more intense than the so-called "War on the Shore" held at Kiawah 30 years ago.

The U.S. eked out victory in high drama when Bernhard Langer missed a five-foot putt for Europe at the final hole in the final match.

Europe are defending champions after a seven-point rout at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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