ST. LOUIS, Sept. 12 -- The PGA Tour Wednesday canceled all four of its tournaments scheduled for this week, including the $5 million WGC-American Express Championship which was to have hosted the world's best players.
In addition, the possibility was raised that this month's Ryder Cup matches could be postponed.
Tiger Woods and most of his top rivals had already gathered at the Bellerieve Country Club Tuesday when terrorist attacks were carried out in New York and Washington. The PGA Tour at first announced the tournament would only be delayed one day, but commissioner Tim Finchem decided Wednesday to cancel the tournament altogether.
In addition, the tour's Tampa Bay Classic was canceled, as was the Senior Tour's Vantage Championship and the Buy.com Tour's Oregon Classic.
"The PGA Tour and its members on all three tours, out of respect for the victims and their families of Tuesday's terrorist actions and in recognition of a national day of mourning to occur later this week, have determined that the best course of action is to refrain from playing our normal schedule this week," Finchem said.
"In particular, American Express, our sponsor of the American Express Championship in St. Louis and headquartered in lower Manhattan, has been directly affected by this tragedy and all of our players and staff send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to all victims and their families."
As the players began the difficult process of returning to their homes, journeys delayed by the ban on air travel within the United States, there was apparent growing sentiment that the Ryder Cup matches should at least be postponed.
Twelve-man teams from the United States and Europe are scheduled to gather at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England for the three-day competition beginning Sept. 28.
"We are all devastated by what has happened," said American team member Mark Calcavecchia. "So many innocent people killed. We were due to have dinner with the President at the White House before flying over to England and that is not going to happen now. I think you can forget about the Ryder Cup for a few months at least."
Stewart Cink was quoted in the London Daily Express as saying:
"If someone wanted to strike at America, or freedom, or capitalism, the Ryder Cup would be a tempting event to hit.
"I don't think the Ryder Cup should go ahead, but there are lots of questions that need to be answered over the next few days. I will certainly be talking to the other members of the team about this."
Ireland's Padraig Harrington, scheduled to be a member of the European team, said he understood the feelings of his colleagues.
"I would support any action they want taken," he said. "There is no doubt this has hit the American players hard."