With less than a month to go until the Italian Open, here is what to expect as the Ryder Cup "Road to Rome 2022" continues
Milan, Italy – The attention of world golf will be on Italy come 2022 when the Ryder Cup is hosted by the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Next month's Italian Open will give fans an early insight into the way the country is building to what will be Italy's biggest-ever golfing event.
First established in 1925, this year's Open will take place from 31 May to 3 June and marks the 75th edition of the tournament.
The Italian Open continues to flourish as one of the eight tournaments forming the prestigious Rolex Series - the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s international schedule, all with a minimum prize fund of US$7 million.
The last Italian to win the event was world No.29 Francesco Molinari two-years ago, also ready to take to the Gardagolf Country Club course in Soiano del Lago (Brescia), local fans will have many reasons to attend.
After winning the 2006 and 2016 Italian Open editions, Francesco Molinari will aim to become the first Italian player to claim the title three times. Local heroes Matteo Manassero and Nino Bertasio, both of whom learned to play at Gardagolf, young talent Renato Paratore and expert Edoardo Molinari, a winner of the 2010 Ryder Cup alongside his brother, will also play.
England's Tyrell Hatton has also confirmed he will be back to defend his title. The Englishman clinched the trophy by a single shot in 2017, claiming his first Rolex Series win, and second consecutive European Tour victory.
"Winning an event like the Italian Open, a tournament with such a long and rich history, and doing it the way I did on the final hole was pretty special. It is going to be different defending a title at a new course, but I’m looking forward to the challenge."
Focus on the fans
Whilst there will be an entrance fee, many initiatives and events will be free in an effort to make the event as accessible as possible for fans.
It is this approach to the tournament – as well as FIG's objectives on the Italian Pro Tour – that Ryder Cup 2022 Project director general Gian Paolo Montali hopes will be a key stepping-stone to increasing Italian interest in the sport.
“The Italian Open is a core event of the 2022 Ryder Cup Project both on the agonistic side and under the golf movement promotion," Montali said. "We thank the prestigious sponsors that confirmed their support to this event and we welcome new sponsors that are supporting us, witnessing the growing interest of new investors in Italian golf."
"Together with our advisor Infront, we are studying many initiatives to make golf more approachable for people and this year we will organize five itinerant events as part of the 'Road to Rome 2022' to make the Ryder Cup an increasingly popular icon and to promote the country as a tourist destination for the beauty of its landscapes and history."
Infront is the official advisor of the Italian golf federation, including all golf events in Italy and takes care of sponsorship, media rights, merchandising, hospitality and ticketing. The organisation also collaborates with the federation for all communication, events and promotion activities.