European Ryder Cup Team Arrives At Marco Simone For Scouting Trip

All 12 members of Luke Donald’s team have arrived at Marco Simone as preparations for the match continue

The European Ryder Cup team at Marco Simone
The European Ryder Cup team have arrived at Marco Simone
(Image credit: X @RyderCupEurope)

The European Ryder Cup team has a packed week ahead of it. 

Not only are all 12 of its players, captain Luke Donald and four of the five vice captains playing in the DP World Tour’s flagship tournament the BMW PGA Championship, but on the eve of the event at Wentworth, many of the team will tee it up alongside some famous faces in the celebrity pro-am.

Before that, though, the team has arrived at Marco Simone to carry out a reconnaissance mission in Rome ahead of the match, which begins on 29 September.

The visit comes just three days after nine of the US Ryder Cup team made a similar trip to the course, with only Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay not involved.

Donald is determined not to leave any stone unturned in Team Europe’s bid to wrestle back the trophy it lost to the US at Whistling Straits in 2021, and he will hope the flying visit, coupled with the involvement of all 12 players at Wentworth later in the week, will give them the edge on home soil.

Before the trip, Donald laid out the schedule, saying: “We have a practice trip the Monday of Wentworth. I’ll be flying Sunday evening to meet the rest of the guys there. We will play Monday and then head back to Wentworth Tuesday morning."

He has been true to his word, with the official Team Europe Ryder Cup X (formerly Twitter) account posting footage of the team arriving at the venue, a team warm-up and players out on the course, including drives from Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.

See more
See more
See more
See more

Despite the meticulous preparations for the match, and the fact the US has not won in Europe for three decades, Donald recently insisted on the Chipping Forecast podcast that his team are underdogs. He told Iain Carter: "We have home advantage, that is one tick in our box, but we are coming off the worst defeat we have ever had with quite a few of those guys who have been in that team two years ago.

"The bookies aren’t usually too wrong in their suggestions. They are going to be betting favourites. We are going to be underdogs, we know that but I have full faith in my team."

However, many of the 12 players in Italy for the team’s brief scouting trip have plenty of pedigree. As well as McIlroy and Rahm, who are ranked second and third in the world, respectively, Viktor Hovland heads into the match on the back of his first FedEx Cup win.

Elsewhere, 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry claimed a T3 in last week’s Horizon Irish Open and Robert MacIntyre has recent success at the venue having won the 2022 Italian Open there. 

Other members of the team have had impressive PGA Tour seasons, including Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose and Tyrrell Hatton, while rookie Ludvig Aberg won his first DP World Tour event in the Omega European Masters earlier in the month. 

With two-time DP World Tour winner Nicolai Hojgaard completing the team, many think it has an excellent blend of youth and experience, with McIlroy in agreement with former captain Padraig Harrington that Europe "has the best players in the world."

Of course, all will become clearer when the action begins, but despite talking down his team’s chances, Donald will be hopeful his work this week, beginning with the trip to Marco Simone, will stand the team in good stead for the biennial match, which is now less than three weeks away.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.