GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy — The European Ryder Cup team usually relies on teamwork and unity to challenge the mighty American team.
For next year’s edition in the suburbs of Rome, European captain Henrik Stenson could also use history – ancient history – to motivate himself.
On his first trip to Italy since being named captain two months ago, Stenson had the Colosseum opened just for him, allowing him to recreate actor Russell Crowe’s trademark line from the film. “Gladiator” when he yelled “Aren’t you entertained?” to the empty arena.
“I’ve been outside many times before but never seen it inside and getting the full VIP experience was something else,” Stenson told The Associated Press on Monday. “You kind of feel the story when you walk in. We’ve all seen ‘Gladiator,’ haven’t we? So you kind of know what was in it and what was going on there a long time ago. many years.”
Could Stenson transmit a gladiator spirit to his team?
“We have plenty. We have 12,” he said, referring to the number of players who will be selected for his squad.
The Marco Simone club will become the third venue in continental Europe to host the Ryder Cup after Valderrama in Spain (1997) and Le Golf National in France (2018).
The club is owned and run by fashion designer Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna.
“You can come here to watch the games and spend a few extra days in Rome,” Stenson said. “This will be the ultimate Ryder Cup golf experience.”
Stenson and vice-captains Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari – who were announced for the job on Monday – spent hours inspecting the course in the scorching sun.
“It will be a great test. I think it’s similar to what we had in Paris with the high banks on the side of the course,” Stenson said. “It will be great vantage points for spectators.”
Stenson said he and his team were trying to alter the course in favor of the European player’s strengths.
“It’s going to be risk and reward golf where you have to hit the right shots to get a birdie,” he said. “And if you don’t hit those shots, we’re here to make sure you’re going to pay the price.”
Bjorn admired the passable par-4 16th and downflow of 18, saying those holes “are going to be crucial.”
Molinari thought Stenson was joking when he offered him one of the vice-captain positions.
“We’ve known each other for so many years and he’s always been a very joking person,” Molinari said. “For an Italian player, however, it’s beyond a dream. When I started playing golf, I never thought it would come to this.”