Up next: Ryder Cup heads to Italy for the first time in 2023

Italy’s presence in the event will grow in 2023 when Marco Simone Golf & Country Club plays host.

Up next: Ryder Cup heads to Italy for the first time in 2023

Italy has made its impactful footprint on the Ryder Cup through the years.

Costantino Rocca took down Tiger Woods in singles in 1997, and the country never had a prouder moment in the event than in 2018, when Francesco Molinari became the first player from Europe to post a perfect 5-0 record in a rousing victory over the United States in Paris.

Italy’s presence in the event will grow in 2023 when it plays host to the Ryder Cup at newly revitalized Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, built only 10 miles outside the city of Rome. It will be the first time the Ryder Cup has been staged in Italy.

The course has undergone an extensive redesign by European Golf Design, performed in cooperation with course architect Tom Fazio II, whose father, Jim Fazio, was the course’s original designer. Marco Simone will become only the third venue in Continental Europe to play host to the historic Ryder Cup matches, joining Valderrama in Sotogrande, Spain (1997), and Le Golf National in Paris (2018). Marco Simone was originally scheduled to host in 2022, but the schedule moved back when the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits was shifted to 2021.

Work on the golf course at Marco Simone, aimed to better capture the drama of match play, began in 2018 and was completed in the spring of 2021. The layout will feature some exciting risk/reward decisions for players in a match-play setting, and will give spectators great views not only of the action on the course but of such historic Italian landmarks as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Castle of Marco Simone.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome, Italy, will be the host site for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Photo by Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

“The assignment of the Ryder Cup to Italy is a source of pride for the entire national sports movement,” said Franco Chimenti, president of the Federazione Italiana Golf. “The incredible setting of Rome will enhance the event, making it unique. The project is what we always imagined, and above all what those who believed in this project imagined.”

The finish at Marco Simone should be exciting for matches that go the distance. The 16th hole can be set up as a drivable par 4, protected by water on the right and a creek that runs across the throat to the green. The 17th is a mid-length par-3 hole of about 180 yards that will yield birdies to great tee shots. The finishing hole is a long par 5 with water down the left side next to the putting surface and a sloping green complex.

Gian Paolo Montali, general director of the Ryder Cup 2023 Project, said those who knew the course from when it played host to the Italian Open in 1994 will find a venue that is “nothing like before.” Said Montali, “The Ryder Cup will be something else. In the beginning, we thought about a light restyling of the course, but it was completely redesigned with eco-sustainability in mind and the benefits of the work will also be enjoyed after the 2023 Ryder Cup.”

According to the European Tour, the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris attracted a record crowd for a Ryder Cup in Europe, with more than 270,000 fans in attendance. The event boosted the economy in France by an estimated 235 million Euros (roughly $275 million U.S.).

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome, Italy, will be the host site for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Photo by Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

The 2025 Ryder Cup is scheduled to be played at Bethpage Black on Long Island, New York, which has been host to two U.S. Opens (2002, 2009), a PGA Championship and twice was home course for The Barclays, a PGA Tour event.

The 2027 Ryder Cup will visit Ireland for a second time, played at The Golf Course at Adare Manor in County Limerick. Adare Manor which opened in 1995, staged both the 2007 and 2008 Irish Opens. The Ryder Cup made its first foray into Ireland in 2006, with the Europeans soundly defeating the U.S. side at the Arnold Palmer-designed K Club in County Kildare.

Source : Golf Week More   

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No. 1 Rose Zhang chose college golf, something no junior player of her caliber has done in decades

Rose Zhang is the best junior girl to head to college in decades – possibly ever.

No. 1 Rose Zhang chose college golf, something no junior player of her caliber has done in decades

Rose Zhang begins her competitive career at Stanford on Monday at The Molly Collegiate Invitational in Seaside, California.

Zhang enters college golf with a game so complete, that no one would’ve been a bit surprised to see her win an LPGA event as a teenager, much like Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Paula Creamer, Lydia Ko or Morgan Pressel. There’s still time for that, of course, as she’s only 18.

While all of those players went straight from high school to the professional ranks, Zhang is the best junior girl to head to college in decades – possibly ever.

In July, Zhang became the eighth player to capture the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur, but the first to win the Women’s Am title first. A two-time AJGA Player of the Year (2020, 2019), Zhang has commanded the No. 1 ranking for more than a year and twice earned the McCormack Medal as the world’s leading amateur.

Tiger Woods, Maverick McNealy and Patrick Rodgers hold the record at Stanford with 11 career victories. Andrea Lee holds the women’s record with nine.

Zhang could topple that record, if Rachel Heck doesn’t beat her to it first. Heck won six times last spring in one semester of golf.

So far, Zhang is off to a memorable start in Palo Alto, winning the team’s first multi-round qualifier by 10 strokes. The effort was highlighted by her first hole-in-one on the par-3 17th at Stanford Golf Course with a 5-iron from 170 yards. Teammates Heck, last year’s NCAA individual champion, and Aline Krauter were witnesses and documented the moment.

Even with Zhang on campus, the Cardinal won’t start the season in full strength. Heck isn’t in the lineup at The Molly because she’s under the weather, and Angelina Ye is still back in China wrapping up the Chinese National Games.

Zhang told reporters at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur last spring that college would help her to mature. Back then, it wasn’t clear if Zhang would actually make it to college. She kept saying she was going ­– but would she really?

“She feels she has a lot more to learn,” explained Zhang’s longtime instructor George Pinnell.

The last time a marquee player like Zhang showed up to college was the late 90’s when Grace Park and Beth Bauer, who won 18 (Park) and 17 (Bauer) AJGA titles and were both two-time AJGA Players of the Year, went to Arizona State and Duke, respectively. Park holds the all-time record of career AJGA victories along with Leigh Anne Hardin and Kellee Booth.

“Rose Zhang would make the LPGA tour today, and she will make it in one, two, three or four years from now,” said Arkansas head coach Shauna Taylor.

“I don’t ever see the rush, as college is a great opportunity to gain something someone can never take away from you: a degree.”

Last week, Taylor’s Arkansas team got their annual up-close look at tour life at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Three current Razorbacks and four former players were in the field in Rogers. For those coming back, the Arkansas stop feels like home on a global tour that’s downright exhausting.

Zhang, who hails from California, came to Stanford with friends already on the team, and this week begins the quest toward helping the Cardinal claim a second national team title. She recently led Team USA to a strong comeback at the Curtis Cup in Wales, going 4-0-1.

One of the most remarkable moments of the 2021 Ryder Cup was Rory McIlroy’s emotional television interview after his Sunday singles victory. McIlroy, a four-time major winner, called his six Ryder Cup appearances the greatest experiences of his career.

“I have never really cried or got emotional over what I’ve done as an individual,” said McIlroy. “I couldn’t give a s—. But this team, and what it feels like to be a part of, to see Sergio (Garcia) break records, to see Jon Rahm come into his own this week, to see one of my best friends, Shane Lowry, make his Ryder Cup debut. … I just can’t wait to get another shot at this.”

The ever-classy McIlroy was quick to apologize to NBC viewers for swearing. The moment got to him.

There’s something special about being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself. Rose Zhang wants a piece of that, and everything else that college life entails.

2021 Curtis Cup

The USA Team celebrates after winning the 2021 Curtis Cup at Conwy Golf Club in North Wales, United Kingdom on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. (Oisin Keniry/USGA)

Michelle Wie West puts getting a degree from Stanford on the same level as winning the U.S. Women’s Open. Both were childhood dreams that she was determined to make happen. Wie West attended Stanford while playing on tour, of course, and called it the best decision she’s ever made.

“The normalcy of just going and living in a dorm and living on campus all four years,” she said, “having friends who didn’t play golf. I think that did so much for my personal growth.”

Zhang believes that will be the case for her, too. Her presence at Stanford sends a message to future world-beaters, and their parents, that extreme success in junior golf doesn’t have to result in a beeline to the tour, which can be a lonely and pressure-packed cauldron.

These are the days that money can’t buy.

Source : Golf Week More   

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