Friday, September 29, marks the return of the biennial Ryder Cup.
This year's tournament will take place at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club located in Guidonia, Rome, Italy, 10 miles from the center of Rome. This will be the first time an Italian course has hosted the event and just the second time the Ryder Cup will be hosted on the European mainland, the first being the 1997 Ryder Cup in Sotogrande, Spain.
What is the course's history?
Named after the castle of Marco Simone, the course was designed and built in 1989 by American architect Jim Fazio.
When bidding for the 2023 Ryder Cup finished in 2015, the course underwent redesigns in 2018 and 2021 with an emphasis on match-play. The remodel was conducted by European Golf Design, in partnership with Tom Fazio II, son of Jim Fazio. The course's new design is meant to create a consistent theme of "risk-reward" and "high-stakes."
How long is the course?
Course Campionato at the Marco Simone Golf Club is a Par 72, measuring out at 6343 total yards, making it a shorter course overall. The longest holes are Holes 1 and 16, both 501 yard Par 5's.
The most difficult hole is arguably Hole 7, a 203-yard Par 3 with a kidney-shaped green, leaning to the right. Not only are there sand traps on the short side of the green, tempting golfers to sail the ball to the far side, but the green itself is rather difficult when putting from a distance. Par 3's tend to be the most difficult holes in golf, with such little room for error, but this one sounds particularly unforgiving. Failure to reach the green in one will almost certainly result in a bogey, barring a spectacular second shot.
How familiar is the US Team with the course?
Not very. Meanwhile, the DP World Tour is very familiar with the course.
The Marco Simone Golf Club has hosted the Italian Open four times in its history, most recently between May 4 and May 7 earlier this year. European Team member Robert MacIntyre and European Team captain Luke Donald both played in that event. While neither finished particularly well – MacIntyre withdrew from the tournament after shooting a 73 in the opening round; Donald missed the cut after shooting 74's in both the first and second rounds – that experience could pay off massively.
Nine of the 12 U.S. Ryder Cup team members, plus the captain and co-captains, arrived in Rome on September 10 though, hoping to gain more familiarity with the course. Only Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth were unavailable for the scouting trip.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Get to know the Marco Simone Golf Club, Ryder Cup's 2023 venue