Golf’s Ultimate Showdown

by Danilo Brunetti

The Golf Club Marco Simone hosts the most important golf competition. Fredy Frisenda reviews. 

Prepare to witness the pinnacle of golf as the Ryder Cup, the most prestigious event in the sport, takes center stage in the Eternal City. This electrifying tournament brings together twelve of the finest American players and twelve European players, handpicked based on rankings and wild cards. Held every two years, the Ryder Cup alternates between Europe and the United States, with Europe’s competition uniquely uniting professionals under the banner of the European Union (including the British, despite Brexit). While there’s no cash prize at stake, the glory of participating and lifting the trophy, generously donated by Samuel Ryder in 1924, is the ultimate reward.

The inaugural Ryder Cup took place in 1927 in Worcester, Massachusetts, where the US triumphed over Great Britain with a commanding score of 9.5 to 2.5. Fast forward to the 1990s, when Italy’s own Costantino Rocca made history as the first Italian player to compete in the Ryder Cup. Rocca’s incredible hole-in-one in 1995 and his victory over Tiger Woods in 1997 cemented his place in golfing lore. The Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco, etched their names in the annals of the sport as the first siblings to represent Team Europe together in the 2010 cup. Francesco further etched his legacy by winning all five matches he played in the 2018 edition, setting a new European record.

Now, it’s time to mark your calendars for the highly anticipated 2023 Ryder Cup, set to captivate golf enthusiasts in Rome from 29 September to 1 October. The illustrious Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Guidonia Montecelio, owned by the esteemed Biagiotti family, will serve as the official venue. Following Spain’s hosting in 1997 and France’s in 2018, the Ryder Cup returns to Europe, this time in the Eternal City. The event spans six thrilling days, including three dedicated to training and three packed with fierce competition. With a capacity of up to 50,000 spectators per day, the magnificent Marco Simone course guarantees an unforgettable atmosphere.

Securing a ticket to the Ryder Cup is a feat in itself, as they were snapped up within hours of becoming available for purchase. Such was the overwhelming demand that Ryder Cup Europe conducted a draw to accommodate requests pouring in from every corner of the globe. 

Fresh from a resounding victory in Wisconsin in 2021, where they dominated with a commanding score of 19 to 9, the United States enters the tournament with Zach Johnson at the helm as captain. On the other side, Team Europe will be led by the esteemed British golfer, Luke Donald. Both captains have six wild card selections at their disposal to complete their rosters. Keep an eye out for heavyweights Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, the latter the highest-paid golfer in the world, as they aim to secure spots on the US team for the 44th edition of this thrilling cross-continental contest. Edoardo Molinari will assume the role of vice-captain, further contributing his wealth of experience to Team Europe’s campaign.

The Ryder Cup is a unique and captivating competition that showcases the best of golf. The format spans two days of intense paired matches, followed by a climactic showdown on Sunday where individual players take to the links. Utilizing the match play formula, where each hole won contributes a point to the team’s tally, the event disregards the par of the course, emphasizing the player’s skill and strategy. To secure victory in Rome, the US must triumph in 14 out of the 28 scheduled matches, while Europe must achieve a minimum of 14.5 points to reclaim the coveted trophy. Each hard-fought triumph earns one point, with a half-point awarded for a tie. As it stands, the States has notched an impressive 28 victories compared to Europe’s 15, setting the stage for a thrilling battle to come.