All roads resulting in Rome, it was maybe inevitable that the Ryder Cup, golf’s most prestigious occasion, would ultimately swing by the Everlasting Metropolis. However when the biennial occasion’s forty fourth version, the primary in Italy, will get going at Rome’s newly redeveloped Marco Simone Golf & Country Club this September, the US and European groups gained’t simply be competing for continental supremacy. Organizers say they’ll even be taking part in for the way forward for Italian golf.
“Golf doesn’t have large consciousness in Italy,” says Man Kinnings, the DP World Tour’s Ryder Cup director. “It’s the sixteenth hottest pastime. What’s the legacy we wish to depart? We wish to enhance that.”
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It gained’t be simple. Based on a survey of the world’s golf programs by the R&A, one of many sport’s governing our bodies, Italy has simply 321 golf programs to entertain its inhabitants of 60 million, a sub-par ratio in comparison with mature golf nations equivalent to England, which has 2,270 programs serving roughly the identical variety of individuals.
However in response to Gian Paolo Montali, Italy’s director basic of the 2023 Ryder Cup undertaking, the plan doesn’t begin by constructing extra programs—first, Italy wants extra golfers. Montali desires 120,000 registered gamers by 2027, up from the 87,000 who referred to as themselves golfers in 2015, when Italy did the unlikely and fended off bids from Germany, Austria and Spain to land the coveted occasion.
Montali additionally desires extra golf vacationers in Italy. “An individual visiting Rome stays two and a half days,” he says. “When gamers come right here to play golf, they continue to be right here for 4 and a half days. If the establishment understands this and Italy turns into a golf vacation spot, it’s going to have a really important affect for the nation.”
Rome’s local weather, historical past, tradition, meals and resorts are already a draw (these staying on the Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, can go to town’s first and solely Michelin three-star restaurant, La Pergola), however having a Ryder Cup venue simply 10 miles from the Spanish Steps ought to appeal to golfers from around the globe.
They’ll discover a stern check of golf, with steep modifications in elevation and slick, undulating greens, plus plenty of risk-reward holes, such because the drivable par-4 sixteenth, the place, statistically, most matches are prone to end. Ryder Cup programs usually assume pilgrimage standing, and Italian golf shall be banking on gamers making the journey to Marco Simone.
Montali says Italy can’t afford to overlook the chance. “It will be silly to not benefit from the Ryder Cup,” he says. “It should be a leaping off level for us.”
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