It’s one of Europe’s greatest cities, with a rich history of sport stretching back thousands of years.
Rome’s Colosseum may once have witnessed bloody battles to the death, but in 2022 the Eternal City will host golf’s most gladiatorial contest for the first time.
Italy overcame competition from Austria, Germany and Spain to be named only the third country from mainland Europe to stage the Ryder Cup — golf’s greatest team event, where Europe takes on the United States over three days.
Denmark, Portugal and Turkey had also been in contention when the bidding process began in June 2014, but later withdrew.
“I would like to offer my congratulations to Italy, whose bold and ambitious bid has seen them become the host nation for the 2022 Ryder Cup,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said Monday.
“History has shown time and again that the Ryder Cup is pure theater with the players the stars, and there is no question that the Eternal City of Rome will provide a wonderful backdrop for one of the great occasions in world golf.”
The biennial competition alternates between Europe and the United States, with Minnesota hosting next year’s edition and Paris taking over in 2018.
The only time continental Europe has hosted the Ryder Cup was in 1997, when the European team — led by Seve Ballesteros — beat the U.S. by a point at Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club.
The Marco Simone Golf and Country Club — 10 miles from the center of Rome — will follow Hazeltine National Golf Club, Le Golf National and Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits as the host course in 2022.
Italy’s bid hinged on its promise to completely overhaul the course at Marco Simone and guarantee a €7 million ($7.6 million) prize fund for the Italian Open for 11 years, starting in 2017.
“The Italian bid was consistently strong and impressive across the board in terms of infrastructure, commercial structure and Government support,” Europe’s Ryder Cup director Richard Hills said.
“It was a worthy gold medalist in this particular contest, although there were three impressive silver medalists too in Austria, Germany and Spain, who conducted themselves in a professional manner throughout the process.
“The plans outlined for the golf course at Marco Simone are spectacular, alongside the commitment to develop all levels of golf in Italy.”
Next year, Europe will seek to win the contest for the fourth successive time, and the seventh in eight stagings since 2002.
The contest began in 1927, and for the first five decades was played between the U.S. and Great Britain, which also featured Irish players. Continental Europeans first took part in 1979.