The European stages of The Ryder Cup Trophy Tour ended in Italy last week, completing a journey which has covered over 3,000 miles and involved thousands of golf fans.
The Ryder Cup Trophy Tour was officially launched in April by European captain Darren Clarke at his home club of Royal Portrush. After being received by Clarke, The Ryder Cup Trophy visited Portrush Harbour and Dunluce Castle, as part of a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.
Greeting the trophy in his hometown, Clarke proudly said: “I’m delighted to see The Ryder Cup Trophy here in Northern Ireland and I really hope everyone here gets behind the European team heading to Hazeltine. The Ryder Cup is one of sport’s greatest trophies, and I encourage the people of Northern Ireland to make the most of the opportunity to see it.”
Northern Ireland certainly took up Clarke’s call, with thousands of golf fans patiently queuing around the city’s Victoria Square shopping centre the following day for their chance to get up close and personal to the figurine-topped golden cup.
Billy Garrett, from Belfast, was one of many to have his photograph taken, when the Trophy was placed on public display.
He said: “It made the hairs stand on the back of my neck. It’s fantastic for the people associated with The Ryder Cup to bring the Trophy to Belfast. Given the history of The Ryder Cup I’m fortunate to be here.”
Next stop for the Trophy was Germany, as golf’s greatest prize visited Munich.
After being photographed in sights like the Olympic Park and famous Town Hall, The Ryder Cup was the star attraction at BMW Golf Week.
In June, The Ryder Cup Trophy Tour reached Paris – being welcomed by French golf legends Jean van de Velde and Thomas Levet. The Trophy visited some of the French capital’s most famous landmarks, helping generate further interest in a country that hosts The Ryder Cup in just two years’ time.
Levet, who was part of the European team that won The Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in 2004, said: “We’re hosting The Ryder Cup in just two years, so it’s important to bring the Trophy here and give people an idea of the great event that’s coming up.”
After France, all roads led to Rome for the Trophy Tour, as the European stages were completed in Italy. 30 Italian schoolchildren joined The Ryder Cup on an open-top bus tour of the city’s famous sites – including a special visit to Rome’s Colosseum - before being welcomed by Ryder Cup legends Constantino Rocca and Sam Torrance at Marco Simone Golf Club, the venue for the event in 2022.
The Trophy Tour then visited Milan, calling at the city’s cathedral before arriving at Milan Golf Club, where fans – including football legend Alessandro Del Piero – had the chance to see it on public display.