The belief that money talks when it comes to the bidding process for the Ryder Cup has been confirmed after Italy was awarded the 2022 match ahead of Germany, Spain and Austria.
It had been believed that Germany, a strong supporter of the European Tour over a lengthy period of time, was the favorite to become only the third country in Continental Europe after Spain (1997) and France (2018) to host the biennial event.
Both Austria and Spain had also been talked about in more favourable terms as a likely second choice if backing from the German government hadn’t been forthcoming but, in the end, it was a four-horse race won by the perceived outsider.
Keith Pelley, the European Tour chief executive, described the winning Italian bid as “ambitious” and, by that, he was mainly referring to the country’s plans for its national Open. Next year’s Italian Open will see the prize money double from €1.5 million to a minimum of €3 million. It’s the increased planned from 2017 onwards that is truly staggering, however. Beginning then, a pot of €7 million is being guaranteed for 11 years, making it one if the most lucrative on the European circuit.
“We have exciting plans for the development of the European Tour and our international schedule for the benefit of all our players, and Italy shares this ambition,” said Pelley.
“Their commitment to the Italian Open will provide an inspiring benchmark.”
Richard Hills, Europe’s Ryder Cup director, said the Italian bid was “consistently strong and impressive across the board” and described plans for the course at the Marco Simone club in Rome as “spectacular”.
Costantino Rocca was the first Italian to play in the Ryder Cup – at The Belfry in 1993 – and made two subsequent appearances, including a 4&2 win over Tiger Woods in the singles at Valderrama in 1997.
More recently, the Molinari brothers – Edoardo and Francesco – both made Colin Montgomerie’s team for the match at Celtic Manor in Wales in 2010, with Francesco retaining his spot for the “Miracle at Medinah” two years later, when he secured a half point against Woods on the last day.
“Congratulations to all involved for the Ryder Cup victory in Rome,” wrote Francesco on Twitter. “[This] is worth more than any victory.” Compatriot Matteo Manassero also took to social media to greet the news, saying the chance to play in a Ryder Cup on home soil was “the biggest goal I can have”.
Initially, seven countries had been interested in staging the 2022 event, but Denmark, Portugal and Turkey all withdrew their interest in the early stages. Turkeyhas already vowed to be the “strongest bidder” for the match in 2026.