Rome organisers were celebrating on Monday after the Italian capital won the right to stage the 2022 edition of golf’s Ryder Cup for the first time.
“I’m very happy, because these things do not happen at random, there’s been an extraordinary amount of work done by our bid team,” Rome’s bid co-ordinator Marco Durante told AFP in a telephone interview on Monday.
“I had the honour of co-ordinating a great team, and now we’ve got the result.”
The cream of world golf will descend on the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in seven years’ time for the biennial contest between Europe and the United States, Ryder Cup organisers confirmed in a statement.
“The Italian capital city of Rome will host The Ryder Cup for the first time in 2022,” it said, adding that the “golf’s greatest team event will be staged on the Continent of Europe for the third time.”
Four nations – Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain – had been competing for the right to stage the 2022 edition.
Germany’s bid chief Marco Kaussler said he was disappointed after failing for the second successive time to persuade Ryder Cup chiefs, having lost the 2018 tournament rights to France.
He told the SID news agency, an AFP subsidiary: “Of course, we’re disappointed, we had in all areas put in a reasonable, balanced and sustainable application.”
After inspecting all four sites in recent months, organisers finally plumped for Rome, whose venue is only 17km from the centre of the ‘Eternal City’.
All going on in Rome today it seems. After securing 2022 Ryder Cup their Olympic bid launches 2024 candidacy logo. pic.twitter.com/4w58fycceN
— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) December 14, 2015
From the 17th tee, players and fans alike can spot the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica on a clear day, although the venue’s transport links to the capital and its thousands of hotels were key factors in the final decision, as well as Italy’s pledge to use their staging of the tournament to further develop the sport throughout the country.
“I believe it will be a great push for our golf movement, and increase participation in our sport,” added Durante.
However Durante, a former golf pro turned lawyer, believes Ryder Cup officials were swung late in the day by the Italian golf federation’s proposal to boost the existing Italian Open. From 2017, it will come with prize money totalling 7m euros.
“I think our project bid was strong in each part, but our federation’s decision to make a bigger and stronger Italian Open has probably given us the last push,” he said.
“We proposed an event to be included in the World Series, it will be a 7m euros prize money event, which will start in 2017 because the 2016 schedule is already there.
“Every week we were ticking new boxes… and we even added something at the end that had not been part of the plans. “Overall, the growth of our bid was the most convincing thing.”
Marco Simone G&CC in Rome awarded the 2022 Ryder Cup. Upcoming venues: Hazeltine, Le Golf National, Whistling Straits.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) December 14, 2015
The Ryder Cup statement added: “The Italian bid was consistently strong across all the areas evaluated and in particular in their pledge to undertake a complete reconstruction of the golf course at Marco Simone to the highest standards demanded by Ryder Cup Europe, in addition to a hugely significant commitment to the Italian Open in terms of guaranteeing a EUR7 million prize fund for the championship for 11 years, beginning in 2017.”
Founded by and still owned by celebrated fashion designer Laura Biagiotti and her family, the Marco Simone Club hosted the Italian Open in 1994.
Rome organisers now have seven years in which to carry out the course changes necessary to fully test the mettle of the world’s top golfers Durante added: “It’s always been a very good course, but we are ready to answer any request from the Ryder Cup committee.”
Next year’s tournament will be held in Hazeltine National in Minnesota, while France will host the 2018 event and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin hosts the 2020 Ryder Cup, two years before it returns to the old continent.
Europe have won six out of the last seven editions of the Ryder Cup including a 16 1/2 to 11/1/2 win at Gleneagles, Scotland last year.
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