Team Europe’s WAGs cleared to fly out with players to the United States for Ryder Cup

Team Europe have secured an exemption from US travel restrictions to allow players’ wives and girlfriends to fly out for next week’s Ryder Cup.

Padraig Harrington’s team will be accompanied by their partners on a charter flight for around 200 people leaving Heathrow on Monday, enabling them to take part in Thursday’s opening ceremony.

The Ryder Cup wives have had an increasingly visible presence in recent matches between Europe and America, establishing traditions that will continue next week after the visitors were permitted to join the players’ inner bubble. 


Team Europe and partners at the gala dinner ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup in France


As usual there will be several photoshoots following the team photo call on Tuesday, while the wives will be formally introduced at the opening ceremony, a piece of protocol widely criticised as sexist.

EU and British citizens are currently barred from entering America due to Covid restrictions, but after talks between the US Embassy, PGA Tour and European Tour, the US State department have granted waivers for players’ partners and children. 

The European team’s travelling party will be far smaller than usual as there will be fewer executives, sponsors and other family members in attendance, with the overall number cut from around 700 at Augusta in 2016 to 350.

The American government’s willingness to waive border restrictions contrasts with the attitude of other countries towards major sporting events.

The Australian government have yet to confirm if the families of England’s players will be able to attend the Ashes later this year, creating a stand-off that has plunged the tour into doubt.