It is the 'world cup' of Golf. A glittering trophy, both for the prestige and class of the competitors, and for the downstream activities it generates. It was established in 1927 but, until now, Italy had never had the pleasure of hosting it. But now it will, from September 25 to October 1, 2023, and there is already a buzz of anticipation. We are obviously talking about the 44th edition of the Ryder Cup, the golf tournament that takes place every two years involving a selection of European players and one US player.
The venue chosen for the competition is the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, in Guidonia Montecelio, owned by entrepreneur Lavinia Biagiotti. A haven of green a few miles from the ring road, overlooked by the great sixteenth-century castle, once home to Federico Cesi, the founder of the Accademia dei Lincei, one of the oldest scientific institutions in Europe. And today home to the Biagiotti family.
Those who follow golf are well aware of how much sports tourism the event will bring to the capital and Lavinia Biagiotti is among these golf fans, and, as a business woman, it is clearly an achievement of great satisfaction. “The Ryder Cup will be a driver for Rome”, she foresees, speaking with Mag. “I invested heavily in the Marco Simone course in order to bag this event. They were important years of work to create a setting we had never had in Italy and that will be left for the city. This is what I love,” she continues, “because many tourists will be able to come and visit and many young people will be inspired by these golf stars and get involved in a sport that is very good for the mind and not just for the body.”
Contrary to popular belief, golf is not a sport only for the elderly. “Marco Simone's motto is 'playing the future'. The gerund is deliberate, because there is no end to the future. In golf, there are always new generations,” says Biagiotti, “and we have invested in young people right from the start, well before Marco Simone was awarded the Ryder Cup. We have a talented team that is reaping great national and international successes.” Lavinia is keen to point out that “Marco Simone is a club for families, for wives, for children and also for the disabled because it is barrier-free. The course that will host the Ryder Cup is built to be very challenging for the champions but also a very enjoyable walk for amateurs, even for those just starting out. Marco Simone,” she concludes, “is a custom event in which everyone is truly welcome.”
Meanwhile, the regulation 18 holes are being revamped for the highest performance to benefit the champion golf players who will be taking part. The first two have already visited: Swedish ace Henrik Stenson, winner of the 2016 Open Championship and Olympic silver in Rio, appointed Captain of the European team; and Vice Captain Edoardo Molinari. Stenson made a first 'technical' inspection to verify the improvements to be made on the pitch and to announce Molinari as his chosen vice captain. During a press conference held on May 30, Stenson and Molinari said they were enthusiastic and honored to play on the course in the Roman countryside.
Is a custom event in which everyone is truly welcome
“I believe that, for a golf fan, watching Ryder 2023 in a magnificent city like Rome and in such a setting will be the ultimate experience,” said Stenson. “I have a lot of confidence in Edoardo's abilities, I know what he will be able to give to Team Europe.”
Molinari did not hide the fact that he was very surprised by the appointment. “I am happy and proud; it is a dream come true. It was a very unexpected call from Henrik,” revealed the 41-year-old golfer from Turin, already winner of a Ryder Cup together with his brother Francesco. “We had chatted a few times about stats and what I could do to help the team, but I never expected this.” When he offered him the position, he thought he was joking at first. “Knowing Henrik, he will leave no stone unturned. He’s always been a very friendly guy and is always smiling, so I think the atmosphere will be fantastic within the team room. We “will do everything he can to win the Ryder Cup back... It will be a lot of fun to play in front of such big and supportive crowds. We are used to fans, but not stadium fans. If we manage to channel half of the passion for Rome and Lazio into golf over the next 16 months, we will be halfway there.”
Judging by the triumphal welcome for Henrik Stenson and his beautiful wife Emma Lofgren in Rome, when they arrived at Fiumicino Airport, it seems that we are on the right track. There was also a Sunday photo shoot in the splendid setting of the Colosseum, before starting work on Monday, May 30 in Guidonia. Sixteen months until the tournament begins is quite a long time; but the countdown has begun.
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