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Ryder Cup 2023

text Virginia Mammoli

September 29, 2023

Ryder Cup, for the first time in Italy the great sporting event second only to the Olympics and the World Cup

The prestigious golf competition takes place at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Guidonia

A sport beloved for its elegance and for its leisurely tempo, one that provides precious contact with nature and beauty. And then, it culminates in the moment when club strikes ball, to hover in the air and hopefully end up in the hole. It all lends itself perfectly to the soft terrain of so many places in Italy, home to some of the world’s most beautiful and prestigious golf clubs, including the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club just outside Rome, chosen to host the first Ryder Cup in Italy.

A large green expanse overlooking the dome of St. Peter’s, dotted with ponds, trees, and bushes, a Roman villa from the 2nd century A.D. and a castle from the year 1,000, which Roman fashion designer Laura Biagiotti fell in love with at first sight. It is thanks to her that in the late 1980s, these 150 hectares of Latium countryside became one of Italy’s most exclusive golf courses, which has hosted the last three Italian Open. From 25 September to 1 October, the course will transition from Italy’s most important men’s golf tournament to the most important international golf event, and the only one in which Europe unites together, bringing its 12 best players to the course to challenge the 12 top American players.

Ryder Cup (ph. MarcoSimone)

It is the third largest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup. As per tradition, the real competition, preceded by the Junior Ryder Cup and practice trials, takes place over the last three days, 29 September to 1 October, and pits the Europeans, led by Britain’s Luke Donald against the U.S., led by Zach Johnson. Among the players are England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood, making this his third consecutive Ryder Cup; Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg; the very young Austrian Sepp Straka, with already two PGA Tour victories at only 20 years old; and among the Americans, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, and five-time Major champion Brooks Koepka.

Zach Johnson, captain of the U.S. Team (ph. Federazione Italiana Golf)

For the occasion, the Marco Simone has revamped its course, remodelled to create challenges and excitement for the world’s strongest players, but also to enhance the natural undulating terrain of the landscape.

Needless to say, there are 18 holes, each with its own characteristics, 72 par, and a length of about 7 kilometres.

Originating in 1927, the Ryder Cup, held every two years, is hosted alternately by the two continents, but for Europe it has almost always been held in the United Kingdom, with the exception of the 1997 edition in Spain, the 2018 edition in France, and now 2023 in Italy.

The first Italian player to compete in the Ryder Cup was Costantino Rocca, a pioneer of Italian golf, who participated in the Ryder Cup in 1993, in 1995, where he scored a hole-in-one, and in 1997, when he bested Tiger Woods in the singles match.

While there are 27 cups for the U.S. and 14 for Europe so far, record wins include the 2004 and 2006 European wins by 18.5 to 9.5. Other historic moments include the time when American Jack Nicklaus, in his first Ryder Cup, sent in a return putt from five feet, only to concede a putt for par from two feet to Tony Jacklin, the most successful English golfer of his generation. Their tie resulted in the first instance of a tie in a Ryder Cup: 16-16, in 1969.

The tournament, which has always kept the tension high as well as the sporting spirit, does not include prize money, but guarantees great fame and honour to those who wield the cup.

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