London, England: The Italian capital city of Rome will host the Ryder Cup for the first time in 2022. The historic announcement, made by Ryder Cup Europe, will see golf’s self-proclaimed greatest team event staged on the Continent of Europe for the third time.
The Marco Simone Golf and Country Club – 17 kilometres from the centre of Rome – will follow in the footsteps of Club de Golf Valderrama in Spain (1997) and Le Golf National in France (2018) when the 44th edition of the match between Europe and the United States is staged in the autumn of 2022.
Four nations – Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain – had participated in an exhaustive and comprehensive Bid Process to identify the country best qualified to follow Hazeltine National in Minnesota next year, France in 2018 and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2020, as host of the biennial contest.
Initially the number had been seven when the process began in June last year, but Denmark, Portugal and Turkey withdrew their interest in the early stages.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour – the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe – led a five-strong Bid Evaluation Committee comprising Europe’s Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Match Director Edward Kitson, European Tour’s Director of Property and Venue Development David MacLaren and European Tour Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Orr, who examined and evaluated all four Bids, including undertaking a series of site inspections.
The objective of the process, said the European Tour, was to enable Ryder Cup Europe to arrive at the correct sporting and commercial decision in terms of the host for 2022.
To that end, the Bid Evaluation Committee judged the candidates on five specific criteria: (i) Demonstrable Government, Political, Institutional and Golfing Community support; (ii) Commitment to the development of a world-class golf facility (new or existing) to host the 2022 Ryder Cup; (iii) Provision of ancillary facilities, suitable access and infrastructure commensurate with the staging of an international sporting event, including proximity to a major international city; (iv) Commercial opportunities available to the Ryder Cup; and (v) Contribution of the Bid Country to the development of golf in terms of Legacy, Contribution to the professional game, Integration of golf within tourism and business communities, Development of levels of golf participation, Professional tournament golf at all levels, and contribution to the Ryder Cup: eg Player eligibility and participation.
The Bid Committee was assisted in its evaluation procedure by three prominent external advisers in Michael Payne, Nick Bitel and Paul Bush, who brought considerable experience from their specialist sporting backgrounds, namely the Olympic Movement, the London Marathon and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014.
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 €7 million prize fund for the championship for 11 years, beginning in 2017. In 2016, the prize fund will double from its current figure of €1.5 million to a minimum of €3 million.
Pelley said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to Italy whose bold and ambitious bid has seen them become the host nation for the 2022 Ryder Cup. History has shown time and again that the Ryder Cup is pure theatre with the players the stars, and there is no question that the Eternal City of Rome will provide a wonderful backdrop for one of the great occasions in world golf.
“With Paris in 2018 and now Rome in 2022 being the respective host cities for Europe’s next two stagings of biennial contest against the United States, the magical appeal of the Ryder Cup is set to continue.”