Captain Stenson visits Rome
Henrik Stenson has arrived in Rome for his first trip to Italy since being announced as 2023 European Ryder Cup Captain in March.
The Swede was greeted by the Italian media as he came through arrivals at Rome Fiumicino Airport on Saturday morning, with excitement growing for Italy’s first Ryder Cup next year which will be staged from September 25 – October 1.
Accompanied by his wife Emma, on Sunday morning Stenson visited the Colosseum, one of Rome’s many iconic landmarks, before later meeting officials from Ryder Cup Europe to view the facilities at the Team Hotel and attending a dinner hosted by the Federazione Italiana Golf (FIG).
On Monday, he will visit Marco Simone Golf & Country Club to meet owner Lavinia Biagiotti and her team, and view all 18 holes of the course once again, having played the Italian Open there last September, finishing in a share of 15th position. He will also hold a press conference for the Italian media, 488 days prior to the first tee shot being struck.
“It was a huge honour to be given the role of European Ryder Cup Captain earlier this year, and it is very special to be leading the team in an incredible city like Rome,” said Stenson. “Seeing the Colosseum was a brilliant experience for me and Emma and one we will never forget.
“We have done a lot of work behind the scenes already with the team at Ryder Cup Europe, but this is my first opportunity to come to Italy since being announced as Captain and meet everyone here too.
“I have had a fantastic welcome so far and it’s great to see how much everyone is looking forward to Italy’s first Ryder Cup next year. We all know how passionate the Italian fans are about their sport and we are going to need that next September when we try to reclaim the Ryder Cup.”
During the trip, the 46 year old took the opportunity to reminisce about his many previous trips to Italy during his stellar golfing career.
“I have always enjoyed playing in Italy,” he said. “I played a lot in the country during my time on the Challenge Tour and in my amateur days too. Indeed, one of my proudest moments as an amateur was winning the 1996 Italian International Championship at Circolo Golf Villa D’Este where I beat Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen – who went on to play on the European Tour for many years – 5 and 3 in the final.
“I had a look at the Roll of Honour for that championship and I saw that one of the previous winners before me was José María Olazábal. Any time you can be on the same list as the two-time Masters Champion is a good thing!”