Last year The Ryder Cup went on a tour of Italy in preparation for Rome’s hosting of one of the game’s most famous events in 2022.
Here, we look back at the five fantastic Italian locations which the prestigious prize visited in 2017.
Valle Dei Templi, Sicily
The first trip on the Road to Rome saw the Ryder Cup trophy visit Sicily during the Rocco Forte Open – Verdura, Sicily.
In the shadows of the iconic Valle dei Templi, a mixture of Italy’s finest players and emerging talents took on a nearest the pin challenge.
Ryder Cup winner Edoardo Molinari, four-time European Tour winner Matteo Manassero and fellow European Tour winner Renato Paratore were up against emerging young talents Luca Cianchetti and 17 year old amateur Andrea Romano, and it was the youngest of the prestigious group who came out on top.
After the fun challenge, Italy’s leading players summed up how special it is for golf’s greatest team event to be coming to their home country – and talked about the impact they believe it wwill have.
“Hopefully having The Ryder Cup in Italy will help golf in Italy a lot more,” said Molinari. “I am sure it will have a massive impact on all the young players because everyone will now try to play better and get into that team. I am sure a lot of young players will get into golf because of this.”
“For the Italian players it is a great thing to have The Ryder Cup in our home country,” said Paratore. “To have The Ryder Cup in my home town, for me personally, is really great too.”
From the heat of a Sicilian summer, the Ryder Cup trophy experienced a stark temperature change for the second step on the Road to Rome.
The trophy, along with Italian professionals Corrado De Stefani, Niccolo Quintarelli, Michele Ortolani, Alessandro Grammatica and Guido Migliozzi, and young amateurs Charlotte Cattaneo and Romano, took a cable car more than 3,000 metres up, to one of the highest mountain peaks in Europe where they took on a nearest the pin challenge.
After reaching the Punta Helbronner Terrace, at 3,466 metres above sea level, the group all hit what Gian Paolo Montali, General Director to The 2022 Ryder Cup, described as a “symbolic tee shot”. Set on the “Europe Terrace” which links France to Italy, the location symbolised the baton passage between The Ryder Cup in Paris in 2018 moving to Rome in 2022.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Grammatica, who found the specially-built green with three of his four shots - enough to see him crowned winner of the competition.
After making it safely back down the enormous Monteo Bianco in one piece, The Ryder Cup was whisked off to the Lazio district of the capital city for the third step on the Road to Rome.
During the September visit, the trophy saw 15 golf clubs across the central Italian region in one day, which, with the help of the Italian Golf Federation, opened their doors to allow all to try and play golf.
With the help of teachers from all the venues, hundreds of children were given the opportunity to try golf for the first time that day.
In October, the streets of Monza were transformed into miniature golf courses with pedestrians of all ages stopping to try golf.
More than 3,000 people picked up a club to try a series of fun games set up all over the city, including a competition at a nine-hole course which was set up between Piazza Trento and Trieste to Via Carlo Alberto.
With the Italian Open taking place the following week in neighbouring Milan, a record audience of 73,000 spectators went on to attend the Rolex Series event at Milan Golf Club.
“2017 has been an important year for Italian golf and the success of the Italian Open with 73,000 visitors showed that we are on the right way,” said Gian Paolo Montali, General Director of The 2022 Ryder Cup.
On the last leg of the Road to Rome in 2017, the Ryder Cup trophy visited Florence.
On November 25, 35 children from Ugolino Golf Club accompanied Richard Hills, Director of Ryder Cup Europe, and the trophy, on an open-top bus which went on a tour of the iconic city.
“It was great to go around Florence with all the children chanting ‘Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup’,” said Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director. “It was taking The Ryder Cup straight to the people.”
Also in attendance at the event was Italy's Minister of Sport Luca Lotti.
After going on the bus tour the children had time afterwards to pose for a picture with the famous trophy, marking the perfect end to a legacy tour which captured the imagination of Italians of all ages.