Rome will host The Ryder Cup for the first time in 2022. The historic announcement, made Monday by Ryder Cup Europe, will see golf’s greatest team event staged on the European Continent for the third time.
The Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, only 17km from the centre of Rome, will follow in the footsteps of Club de Golf Valderrama in Spain (1997) and Le Golf National in France (2018) – when the 44th edition of the match between Europe and the United States is staged in the fall of 2022.
Four nations – Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain – had participated in an exhaustive and comprehensive Bid Process to identify the country best qualified to follow Hazeltine National in Minnesota next year; France in 2018 and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2020, as host of the biennial contest. Initially the number had been seven when the process began in June last year, but Denmark, Portugal and Turkey withdrew their interest in the early stages.
The objective of the process was to enable Ryder Cup Europe to arrive at the correct sporting and commercial decision in terms of the host for 2022.
To that end, the Bid Evaluation Committee judged the candidates on five specific criteria: (i) Demonstrable Government, Political, Institutional and Golfing Community support; (ii) Commitment to the development of a world-class golf facility (new or existing) to host The 2022 Ryder Cup; (iii) Provision of ancillary facilities, suitable access and infrastructure commensurate with the staging of an international sporting event, including proximity to a major international city; (iv) Commercial opportunities available to The Ryder Cup; and (v) Contribution of the Bid Country to the development of golf in terms of Legacy, Contribution to the professional game, Integration of golf within tourism and business communities, Development of levels of golf participation, Professional tournament golf at all levels, and contribution to The Ryder Cup: eg Player eligibility and participation.
In other words, which country would devote the most resources and provide a high rate of return for profit? Italy, apparently!
The Italian bid was consistently strong among all the noted areas, particularly with its pledge to give the Marco Simone G&CC a full face lift to fit the high demands of staging the Ryder Cup in 2022. Italy also made a hugely significant commitment to the Italian Open in terms of guaranteeing a €7 million prize fund for the championship for 11 years, beginning in 2017. In 2016, the prize fund will double from its current figure of €1.5 million to a minimum of €3 million.
“I would like to offer my congratulations to Italy whose bold and ambitious bid has seen them become the host nation for The 2022 Ryder Cup,” said Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour. “History has shown time and again that The Ryder Cup is pure theatre with the players the stars, and there is no question that the Eternal City of Rome will provide a wonderful backdrop for one of the great occasions in world golf.
“With Paris in 2018 and now Rome in 2022 being the respective host cities for Europe’s next two stagings of biennial contest against the United States, the magical appeal of The Ryder Cup is set to continue.
“In addition, we have exciting plans for the development of The European Tour and our International Schedule for the benefit of all our players, and Italy shares this ambition. Their commitment to the Italian Open will provide an inspiring benchmark.”
The awarding of The 2022 Ryder Cup will continue Italy’s legacy in the contest which began when Costantino Rocca became the first Italian golfer to play in the match at The Belfry in England in 1993. The United States won on that occasion but Rocca tasted victory on his next two outings – at Oak Hill Country Club in 1995 and at Valderrama in 1997 where he famously beat Tiger Woods 4 and 2 in the final day singles.
Since then, brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari have carried the Italian flag into the biennial contest, appearing together in Europe’s narrow victory at The Celtic Manor Resort in 2010 while Francesco was part of the triumphant European team two years later, his half point in the final singles match, again against Tiger Woods, putting the seal on the remarkable Miracle of Medinah.
Since the inception of The European Tour in 1972, Italy has hosted 54 European Tour tournaments with nine Italian players having lifted a total of 20 European Tour titles between them, the most successful being Rocca with five. In addition Italy has played host to 82 European Challenge Tour events and eight tournaments on the European Senior Tour.
I’m good with any venue on the other side of the pond!