Ewen Murray should have been commentating on the last round of the Masters tomorrow, his expertise enhancing the experience of Sky Sports viewers on one of the most special nights of the sporting year.
He feels the disappointment that the first major of the season has been postponed as acutely as any golf enthusiast.
But Murray isn’t an advocate of proposals to stack the back end of the year with big events should the coronavirus pandemic allow the sport to return.
As far as he is concerned, the R&A have taken the correct decision to shut the door on the idea.
“If it was me, I’d say the major season is gone,” he told Courier Sport.
“I think The Open have done the right thing. I don’t think you want a diluted major championship because then whoever wins it will be a diluted major champion. I don’t think that’s right.
“Playing without fans isn’t a starter for me, whether that’s football or golf.
“You take the fans away and you take The Open experience away. Martin Slumbers was criticised for mentioning hospitality but that’s part of The Open experience as well.
“Had we played it, I think we’d have looked back and thought: ‘We maybe shouldn’t have done that’.
“I think the R&A will come out of this smelling of roses in the end.
“Everyone thinks they’ve done it too early but it takes months to get everything ready. Then when everything is ready they might have to say: ‘OK, you can have The Open but you can’t have fans’. That would mean empty grandstands which would be just awful.”
Murray was at Sawgrass for the recent Players Championship when the mass sporting shutdown kicked in mid-tournament.
“I was hoping we’d have got a day without fans at The Players,” he reflected.
“That was what they announced on the Thursday. It would have shown everybody what an unattractive experience it really is. It turned out that they changed their mind and called it off completely.
“Let’s see this pest off and then when we go back we can all appreciate what we’ve got all the more.”
If you go through the three majors left, as well as the Ryder Cup, Murray can pick holes in the argument to play them in late summer or autumn one by one.
He said: “With the Masters they’re talking about the second week of November. Augusta will be fine. The weather will be a bit colder but similar and the play will have to start earlier. But there will be no azaleas, no dogwood.
“Great events in world sport need to be seen like that – not in any other form.
“If we can wait until the second week in November we can wait until the second week in April and do it properly.
“For the US Open less than half the field are exempt. The rest are qualifiers who come through sectional qualifying then final qualifying. That’s the beauty of it. That’s why it’s called an open – because it’s open. If you’re good enough you can try to qualify.
“There are always great stories on the back of that.
“The PGA goes off the world rankings but they’re not current. I don’t like that idea either.”
He added: “The Ryder Cup has grown even more since the last time it was delayed after 9/11.
“If you haven’t had a qualifying process I really don’t see the point. I know Padraig (Harrington) has said that if there’s any possible way to play it, we will.
“But I can’t imagine a Ryder Cup without the noise. It just wouldn’t be the same. Think of all the great moments – the putts, bunker shots, chips holed – and the noise and the joy that follows is such a big part. There would be none of that.
“The European Tour and PGA Tour should get going again when they can. But the majors and the Ryder Cup are bigger and better than that and have to be as we know them.”