The Ryder Cup is set to take place at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy, as Europe hosts the United States. The US team are the reigning champions, having won with an impressive 19-9 victory over Europe at Whistling Straits two years ago. However, Europe is determined to regain the title this year, with Luke Donald as the captain and star players such as Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Rose on their team. The Marco Simone Golf and Country Club offers a challenging course with a mix of long and short holes, thick rough, blind shots, huge bunkers, and sweltering heat. Let's take a closer look at each hole:
No.1, 445 yards, Par 4: The Bold Challenge
The first hole presents the option to challenge the left bunker on the slight dogleg left, leaving a short iron to the green. However, playing it safe requires a mid-iron to a green protected by a steep ridge in front of a large bunker on the left.
No.2, 476 yards, Par 4: Safe vs. Risky Shot
Players can choose to take a 275-yard shot to cover a bunker and two more bunkers beyond it, or take a shorter club to the right for a safer shot. The green is protected by a bunker about 45 yards short of it and a severe slope beyond and left of the green.
No.3, 453 yards, Par 4: Big Hitters' Option
There are two options on this hole. Players can take a safe, straight shot that leaves a mid-iron to a slightly elevated green. Alternatively, big hitters can try to cut the right corner of the dogleg, but the fairway is surrounded by deep rough.
No.4, 185 yards, Par 3: Two-Tiered Green
This hole plays slightly downhill and requires little more than a short iron to a two-tiered green. Two bunkers must be avoided.
No.5, 376 yards, Par 4: First Water Hazard
The first water hazard on the course comes into play on this hole. Players can use a driver down the right side for a short iron shot to the green, or play short of the water and leave themselves with a longer shot to the hole.
No.6, 383 yards, Par 4: Risking the Bunker
Players can choose to play short of a huge bunker on the right or take the risk of using a driver over the bunker to leave themselves with a flip wedge to the green that has several ridges.
No.7, 219 yards, Par 3: Challenging Green
This hole can play anywhere from 145 to 220 yards depending on tees and pin positions. The long, kidney-shaped green is guarded by two bunkers, and two putts from long range will be adventurous.
No.8, 503 yards, Par 5: Reaching the Green
This hole is easily reachable in two shots, but players must keep their drive short of the water that wraps around the left side of the green. Those laying up should keep the ball down the right for a good angle with the wedge.
No.9, 587 yards, Par 5: Avoiding the Bunkers
Players need to avoid two bunkers on the right with their drive before deciding whether to go for the green in two shots. There is a small area of water to the left of the green, and the right side is framed by bunkers in native grass.
No.10, 455 yards, Par 4: Bunkers on the Right
A strong drive to the center of the fairway sets up a short or mid-iron to the green, which is protected by two bunkers on the right.
No.11, 330 yards, Par 4: Pin Position Matters
How players approach this reachable par 4 depends on the pin position. The hole plays slightly uphill, and a steep slope short and right can send the ball into a depression area. A back left pin might lead players to lay up due to bunkers on the left side.
No.12, 554 yards, Par 5: Accuracy is Key
An accurate drive will set players up for a long iron shot to reach the two-tiered green. Par is likely to be lost on this hole.
No.13, 145 yards, Par 3: Wind Challenge
The difficulty of this short par 3 is the exposed green, which is subject to wind. Players must avoid missing to the left of the two-tiered green.
No.14, 495 yards, Par 4: Long, Slight Dogleg
This long par 4 plays slightly downhill, and only big hitters might attempt to cover the two bunkers on the left of the slight dogleg.
No.15, 478 yards, Par 4: Mid-Iron to a Well-Guarded Green
Bunkers are positioned to the right on the tee shot and should be avoided to leave a mid-iron shot to a green guarded by three bunkers on the right side.
No.16, 352 yards, Par 4: Safe Play vs. Temptation
The safe play on this hole is a 200-yard tee shot that sets up a wedge to the green, with a pond to the right. However, players might be tempted to use a driver and cover the creek, which would require overcoming two bunkers guarding the green and water on the right.
No.17, 206 yards, Par 3: Sloping Hole
This hole slopes to the left, and the trouble lies in getting tee shots caught in thick grass above the green on the right. A massive bunker is positioned in front and to the right of the green.
No.18, 626 yards, Par 5: Advantage to Long Hitters
For matches that reach the 18th hole, the advantage goes to the longer hitters who can reach the green in two shots. However, they must avoid a water hazard that juts out short and left of the green. There is also a bunker short of the green, and the safe miss is a bunker on the right side.