Italy for 2022 Ryder Cup?
Italy Just Getting Hooked on Golf
There’s a new bidder on the horizon for the much-awaited 2022 Ryder Cup, and it’s not one you would expect. Yes, considering the passion that Europeans have for the game of golf, two or three events away is still much-awaited, and the maneuvering for hosting the competition starts early. This time, it’s Italy stating its case for the Ryder Cup, and even considering the architectural wonders of the European continent, they’ve got some strong cards in their hand.
You wouldn’t think of Italy right off the bat as a golfing country, and for now, the statistics might back you up. In the entire country, there are thought to be somewhere around 100,000 recreational, and a few professional, golfers. But one source describing the general feeling as Italy being a “small country playing a British game,” couldn’t be more wrong. Italy is not a small country, measuring well over a thousand miles from stem to stern, considerably larger than the breadth of Great Britain. The population is a third larger than the U.S., and they’ve got a course with which to tantalize the powers that decide such things as Ryder Cup venues.
Marco Simone golf course is located in Rome. You can see it without much trouble from the balconies overlooking St. Peters Square in the Vatican. The distance from the epicenter of Rome is about 10 miles which, considering the enormity of the city, is still in downtown Rome. The course was founded and is maintained by the family of fashion designer Laura Biagiotti, and the venue has hosted national tournaments in the past. Local transportation is good, hotels and plentiful, and RAI, the television network, is ready to go.
Several players from Italy have primed the pump for the possibility of holding a Ryder Cup here. They include brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, who did well at the 2009 World Cup. Italy boasts a professional team for international competition, and will put in an appearance at the Rio Olympics next year. The youngest player to ever make the cut at the Masters is Italian, and there are many player of Italian descent on both the PGA and European tours. Culturally, there’s no problem. Playing in Italy won’t be like playing on the moon. If the question is whether golf will ever overtake or even rival the game of soccer, the answer is “Never! Never!” Of course, I’m quoting any Italian on the street you might want to stop and ask. Still, the government is even putting golf in the schools – looks like they’re serious.
There will be some problems for visitors to the event, should Italy be chosen. Driving in Rome is a step up from driving in almost any other major city. It’s where the top drivers in New York go to train, in disguise as vacationers. Come home, and you’re never afraid of anything again.There are a lot of train strikes, so those coming from cities a ways away, such as Perugia, might want to check the train strike listings for the area. Unions are generally very courteous, and announce strikes well in advance.
Food should be anything but a problem, unless you’re one of those who thinks that real pizza should taste just like it does in Abilene or Topeka.. If you’re one of those, you won’t like any European venue for the Ryder. There are other cultural worlds out there, folks. – get with it. The scenery is excellent, and since Rome is built on a series of hills, you won’t get stuck looking at a flat expanse of high-rise apartment buildings. The architecture has been standing at least a thousand years longer than your house in most cases, and looks as if it will stand a thousand or two more. Italy knows a little something about engineering.
The climate should be most agreeable, although it can get a bit hot during Ryder month.. Unless you play it in a moderate Winnipeg or Oslo summer climate, you’re probably going to get a little too hot wherever you go.
At any rate, Italy is one of two European nations that would experience a boom if they could ensnare the Ryder, the other being in Austria. In Italy, though, you won’t have to wear duerndels or lederhosen, yodel, or climb hills that are quite so high, unless you visit the Dolomites.So Andiamo, tutti – let’s tee it up in Italia.