Italy’s struggle for the hosting of 2022 Ryder Cup

By: October 20, 2015

I think there are at least two common motivations among the 4 bidders (Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria) for the 2022 Ryder Cup: golf enthusiasm and promoting their country (as a country of investment, tourism destination etc.). The 2014 Ryder Cup event at Gleneagles, attracted over 250,000 spectators and generated £106 million for the Scottish economy. At this moment 5 countries are bidding for hosting the Ryder Cup 2022. Italy is one these countries.

Italy Rome Ryder Cup 2022

Let’s see Italy’s offer!

Italy’s 2022 Ryder Cup bid is strongly supported by the Italian government, led by the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, but we can find leading companies’ representatives in the honor committee (from Lavazza, Barilla, RAI, Sky Italy, HSBC, Laura Biagiotti (she is the president of Marco Simone Golf & Country Club). The Italians intend to host the 2022 Ryder Cup in the outskirt of Rome (27 km/17 miles from Rome), in Marco Simone Golf & Country Club is the chosen venue for the Italy 2022 Ryder Cup.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Clubs was found by Laura Biagiotti and her husband. The golf course was designed by Jim Fazio. It is a 6343 meter, par-72, 27-hole golf course. Marco Simone Golf & Country Club has already hosted the Italian Open. European Ryder Cup director Richard Hills was impressed by the quality of the golf course in March 2015.

As a country with a modest golf history and tradition (vs Spain, England), I think Italy should (should have) focus more on its soft power merits (e.g. history, culture and even well known Italian golfers such as Matteo Manassero, the Molinari borthers etc.). Italy was ranked #12 on Monocle’s Soft Power Survey 2014/2015 (#11 – Spain; #2 – Germany; #20 – Austria).

They also claim that they’ve got more golf fans (7.8 million) vs Germany (6.7 million), France (6 million) and Spain (5.9 million). It is hard to believe that a country with such golf heritage can claim so many golf fans (=cca. 10% of the total population). If I add the findings of KPMG (Golf Participation in Europe, 2015) this stat sounds even more dubious:

  • 91,713 registered golfers (=affiliated to the Italian Golf Federation),
  • 217,037 population per Golf Club (vs Hungary: 825,733)
  • 275 golf clubs
  • Italy has the lowest golfers-to-courses rates!!
  • golf tourists are mainly from Sweden, Germany and France
  • Italy’s contribution to Ryder Cup with players: Constantino Rocca, Edoardo and Francesco Monlinari

If I have to say some pro-Italy reasons, then these would be:

  • Hosting the 2022 Ryder Cup could definitely give a boost to the local golf industry (including golf participation, golf club membership, tee time sales, golf equipment sales etc.) and amplify international golf tourism.
  • Although we are fond of Spanish golf courses, it is not a bad idea to try out new places.
  • Sufficient support from the highest level. They consider it as a prestige investment and event.

The Italians are in a very tough competition. Just see (below) what Spain is offering to be able to host the 2022 Ryder Cup:

Costa Brava Barcelona 2022 Ryder Cup