When asked for the hard facts as to why Italy would be such a good choice for the Ryder Cup match of ’22, the president of the Italian Golf Federation, Franco Chimenti, begins with his trump card. Namely, the Marco Simone club’s close and easy proximity to Rome and its 6,600 hotels.
It is no more than 11 miles from the city centre and feels even closer in that there are three points (most notably the 17th tee) from which you can see the dome of St Peter’s Basilica.
Yet far from being cramped, the course, which already has been selected as the golf venue for Italy’s Olympic bid for 2024, has any amount of space. Scrubland would make way for car-parking, tented villages and such luxuries as the “Mini-Colosseum” which would be erected around the green of the short fifth.
There is plenty of money to bring the course up to Ryder Cup standards. Bermuda grass would be introduced to have the parkland fairways reaching a peak in late September – and water hazards and bunkering would be upgraded.