Ryder Cup Legend Ian Woosnam: “The Picks Always Cause a Stir”

Apes Hill Barbados has become one of golf’s most talked-about golf developments since the arrival of Canadian investor Glenn Chamandy in 2019.

A reimagined course masterminded by renowned architect, the late Ron Kirby, a growing and luxurious real estate community, the world-class Performance Centre and an in-development Par 3 course are just some of the reasons Apes Hill is rising higher than ever in the Caribbean golf world.

Few golfers know Barbados better than Apes Hill ambassador Ian Woosnam. The Welshman has been a regular on the island after purchasing a property in 1995 where he spends the winter recuperating before the start of the season. Still playing competitively on the Legends Tour, Woosnam and has followed Apes Hill’s transformation closely.

He also knows a thing or two about Ryder Cups, having won four as a player and one as a captain throughout a distinguished career.

Ahead of this month’s showdown in Rome, we sat down with ‘Woosie’ to talk about Apes Hill, the Ryder Cup and his lifelong love affair with Barbados…

Ian Woosnam on the Ryder Cup and his love for Barbados

Ian, with the Ryder Cup now just two weeks away, what are your thoughts on the event and how do you see it unfolding?
Ian Woosnam: It’s tough to call but home advantage really will play a part. Europe played a great American Team over in Whistling Straights in 2021 and they never seemed to really get going and maybe that was because of the lack of support. But things are a bit more balanced this year and playing in Europe will help. I also think some of our top players are in better form. So, it’s tough to call at the moment. Can I sit on the fence and say it’s 50-50?

What can you remember most from your time as captain?
Ian Woosnam: Well, you have to back yourself, that’s really important. I had a great team in 2006 and we won comfortably at The K Club. But you still have to get everything in place and make sure you have everything covered. My captain’s picks caused something of a stir with Lee Westwood over Thomas Bjorn, but I had no doubts about him playing and he absolutely delivered. I do think sometimes you have to put the stats to one side and just go with your gut feeling. If it feels right for you, make the call and stick with it. I think at times we get too bogged down in the statistics of it all.

What did you make of Luke Donald’s captain’s picks?
Ian Woosnam: The picks, even back when I captained in 2006 and had two, are always going to cause a stir so having six will really make a few heads turn. I do think Adrian Meronk is unfortunate to miss out. I know I said don’t read too much into stats, but his stats stand out! He has been in good, solid form, looks to have a really good temperament and most importantly, he has won three times in the last 16 months, with one of those victories coming at the venue for the event in Italy and he also finished second there in 2021. I can understand his frustration. It’s a tough one to work out but there are always factors in the background when it comes to the captain’s picks.

What kind of factors?
Ian Woosnam: Key players can have their say. Certain players will want to play with certain players. In 1995, I missed out on automatic qualification, which was the only time I did in my career, and I didn’t get a pick. I finished 11th on the Order of Merit and there were only two picks, and Jose Maria Olazabal was picked ahead of me, and I am pretty sure that was because Seve Ballesteros would have wanted Ollie there so he could be paired with him. This is the sort of thing where players can request who they play with to the captains, and the captain can make that choice who he feels is better. In the end, I played because Ollie had a foot injury and missed out. But these things go on in the background and they can all play a part.

You have recently become an ambassador for Apes Hill Barbados – tell us a little bit about the course, which reopened in 2022 following the redesign by Ron Kirby…
Ian Woosnam: I’ve seen the course develop from its very beginnings. It’s a spectacular piece of land and you get these amazing panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The elevations are something else. It is just a great set-up and the course is so much fun, and really is very playable for all levels of golfer. It’s definitely my kind of course where you can just get lost in the surroundings but also it’s very clever and has some wonderful holes.

Talk us through some of the changes?
Ian Woosnam: They shortened the first and tenth holes, are they’ve created lots of different plots to the golf course. What I really like is the way it’s been made so playable, which is so important. They have been lots of little tweaks. It’s not somewhere you’re going to lose a bunch of balls, either. Lose one and it’ll have been a really poor shot. Softening the greens has helped a little, too. The second hole has been made into this terrific risk/reward hole. Then there’s the 16th, ‘Cave’, the signature hole, which I imagine would be one of the most photographed holes on the course. A coral rock hugs the hole behind the green with water down the right. It’s a special par-3 that comes after another a terrific stretch from 12-15. The 18th is spectacular, too – you’ll have some fun playing that one, let me tell you.

It sounds like you enjoy playing there?
Ian Woosnam: I really do, but it’s not just the 18-hole course – there’s a lovely feel to the place. There is also the nine-hole par-3 short course, which in in development and will be a great to practise, and will be perfect for families with little ones to try, as well as beginners. Then you have the 19th, island style green they are building. It’s all about having fun!

And you have the facilities there to work on your game?
Ian Woosnam: Absolutely. The Performance & Teaching Centre is world-class, arguably the best facility of its kind in the Caribbean that I’m sure will attract the top professionals who want somewhere that’s state-of-the-art to play and practise. If you were an American Tour player, for example, what a place to base yourself for two weeks or so, resting up and doing some work on your game.

Despite being a resort course, there’s a real club feel about Apes Hill…
Ian Woosnam: It’s one of the things that I most like about the place. I’ve become good friends with the Director of Golf, Jody Addison. He’s a really great guy and I really enjoy his company. I enjoy talking to the members, too, sitting down at the halfway house and sharing a drink. I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I didn’t love talking about the game and speaking to like-minded golfers.

Talking of drinks, apparently you can enjoy a nice glass of rosé in the Clubhouse post round?
Yes, it’s something I got involved with several years ago – ‘Wines of Golf Legends’ by French wine company Peuch & Besse. There are a number of us involved, but hopefully there will be a few more to come. If I told you that there’s a New Zealand white from Michael Campbell, a Rioja from José María Olazábal and a drop of red from Costantino Rocca, you’d get the picture. David Frost, Nancy Lopez, Ian Baker-Finch and Jean Van de Velde are all involved, too. Bernhard Langer has just come along and he’s doing a German white! It’s good fun! [Hopefully Laura Davies for Champagne]

When did you fall in love with Barbados?
Ian Woosnam: My love affair with the island started about 40 years ago. I remember enjoying a pretty good year in 1982, winning in Switzerland, and the following year wasn’t too bad, either. One of the highlights was getting invited to play in the Robert Sangster Pro Am at Sandy Lane. My wife and I went, and we fell in love with the place straight away.

How often do you get out there?
Ian Woosnam: We must have visited the island just about every year ever since. In 1995 we decided to invest in a house at Royal Westmoreland, and we moved in a year later. We live in Jersey, which is a wonderful place, but Barbados has become a kind of home from home. After we had our first taste, we kept going back and forth on the holidays with the kids. Back then, they were in school, so we had that to consider, but now my wife and I will go out before Christmas and stay all the way though until April.

What is it about Barbados that you enjoy so much?
Ian Woosnam: I tell everyone who asks that question that there’s so much more to Barbados then you might think. Yes, there are beautiful sandy beaches, the climate is certainly agreeable most of the time, and for golfers there are some wonderful courses with spectacular views. However, when you live there and you get to know the local people – they’re so friendly – that’s when you find out what the island is all about. I love the sunshine and sea breeze, and of course the golf. With the weather the way it is, I can play pretty much all year round. I’m good friends with ‘Beefy’ [cricketer, Ian Botham] and he likes his golf, too.

What do you look forward to the most, the moment you land and get off the plane?
Ian Woosnam: One of my favourite times to visit is in January, February, March time, when you get that gentle breeze coming through, especially when you’re up high like you are at Apes Hill. When you get up in the morning and see that sea, that’s when I just realise how lucky I am.
The interview was conducted by Azalea and kindly made available to us for publication.

Highlights Tours

Ryder Cup 2023: Rory McIlroy – A Tower of Strength

Rory McIlroy is a 34-year-old Northern Irishman and one of the most successful golfers in the world. At just 22, he was the second-youngest player ever to top the world rankings at the time. He has won four major tournaments and 20 others on the PGA Tour. All eyes will be on the fan favorite at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome.

Rory McIlroy at the 2023 Ryder Cup

Due to Rory McIlroy’s successful season, the Northern Irishman qualified for the Ryder Cup in two ways. He led the European points rankings at the time of his qualification and followed in second place behind Jon Rahm in the world points ranking. With two victories in the 2022/2023 season and a total of eleven top-10 finishes, he collected enough points to be nominated first, together with Jon Rahm, for the Ryder Cup.

The world number two played 16 tournaments last season and missed the cut only twice. He managed a top-10 finish impressive eleven times, including two T2’s and two victories. In October 2022, he won the CJ Cup in South Carolina, one of the first tournaments of the PGA Tour season. Then in July 2023, he won the British Open dress rehearsal, the Genesis Scottish Open, and bagged about three and a half million dollars with those two wins alone. He narrowly missed winning the US Open and the Arnold Palmer Invitational by finishing second. In total, McIlroy earned around 13 million dollars in prize money during the 2022-2023 season

Will Rory McIlroy write the next chapter in golf history in the 2023 Ryder Cup?

In 2010, at the age of 21, McIlroy won the Ryder Cup for the first time with Team Europe. In stormy Wales the decision even had to be postponed until Monday. In 2012, he defended the title with a historic comeback by the European team. After trailing six to ten, the Europeans won for the seventh time out of the at that time last nine Ryder Cups.

In 2014, he made a historic start in match play against Rickie Fowler, winning five of the first six holes. With this victory, among others, the Europeans again defended their title. 2018 was the for now last victory of Team Europe in which McIlroy again played a part. After an emotional loss in 2021 he will again be an integral part of the European Ryder Cup Team in 2023, as he has been for 13 years. With all his experience, he is a tower fo strength for Team Europe.

Rory McIlroy’s greatest successes and prize money

Rory McIlroy became famous at a young age. He made his first TV appearance at the age of eight, won the U10 World Championship in Miami at 9, made his first hole-in-one at 10 and was already leading the amateur world rankings at 17. Alongside Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, the Northern Irishman is the only player to have won four major titles by the age of 25.

In a total of 236 events, he missed the cut only 30 times. In just under half of the tournaments he has played, he has reached the top 10. 71 of these were top 5 finishes, ten third places and ten more runner ups. His greatest successes are his Major victories. In 2011 he won the US Open for his first major title. In 2012, he took the title at the PGA Championship. Two years later, he won two of the four major tournaments, the PGA Championship again and the Open Championship. He now only needs the Masters in Augusta to have been successful in all four major tournaments and complete a career Grand Slam. He also won the FedExCup three times, most recently in 2022. The Northern Irishman has earned around 79 million dollars in prize money during his career.

Highlights Tours

Ryder Cup 2023: Captain Luke Donald – Four-time Ryder Cup winner

The 45-year-old Englishman looks back on a long and successful career. In total, Luke Donald has won 13 titles on the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (former European Tour) and was among the world’s top 20 players at the beginning of 2005. In 2011, he was ranked first in the world golf rankings for the first time. His participations in the Ryder Cup speak for themselves. Four times he faced the American team and four times he won the Ryder Cup with Team Europe.

Luke Donald as Captain at the Ryder Cup 2023

Luke Donald was appointed captain for the 44th Ryder Cup on August 1, 2022. He will lead his team from September 29 through October 1. His long history in the Ryder Cup and not a single defeat as a player should bode well for the European team.

Donald has always been a competitive player. In 2011, for example, he won the WGC Accenture Match Play in the final against Martin Kaymer. His experience and passion, along with a host of successes from the still-active player, make him a showcase captain for the European team, which will face a strong Team USA this year.

Four Ryder Cup appearances – Four Ryder Cup victories

His Ryder Cup career began in 2004, when Bernhard Langer was captain of the European team. At that time, Europe won the tournament in Michigan by a historic margin. Luke Donald played his part in that. On the first and second day, he won the Foursome both times together with Sergio Garcia. He was only beaten in the singles match play on Sunday. Garcia and he formed the Ryder Cup Dream Team. In 2006, they also won together in the Foursome on Friday and Saturday, facing none other than Phil Mickelson on both days. That year he also won his singles match.

He then continued his winning statistics at the Ryder Cup in 2010. On Friday, he was defeated in the Fourball, but on Saturday he won twice and, with a victory in the match on the final day, ensured the next European Ryder Cup victory. In 2012, in his last Ryder Cup appearance, he helped seal a narrow European victory when he won his singles match against Bubba Watson. He thus sat out the Ryder Cup only once (2008), the only year Europe lost the Ryder Cup between 2004 and 2012.

Luke Donald’s greatest successes and prize money

One of his greatest successes was his victory at the BMW PGA Championship in 2011. This victory catapulted him to the top of the world rankings for the first time in his career. A year later, he even defended his title at the tournament. For a long time, Luke Donald played mainly on the PGA Tour, but he also took part in tournaments on the European Tour. On the PGA Tour he managed five more victories. In total, the Englishman has won 13 international titles.

In his career, he made the cut 290 times in 421 events played. 79 top-10 finishes and 16 second places illustrate his class. That brings him to around $38 million in prize money earned so far in his career.


Ryder Cup 2023: Justin Rose, a familiar face on Team Europe

With Justin Rose, Luke Donald is bringing the most experienced Ryder Cup player into the team alongside Rory McIlroy. The 43-year-old will be part of Europe’s lineup for the Ryder Cup for the sixth time in 2023. “There’s nothing better than winning as a team,” Rose said enthusiastic after the announcement of the “captain’s picks.” Captain Luke Donald is confident he made the right choice with Justin Rose: “He’s been in these situations before, holing putts under pressure.”

Justin Rose at the 2023 Ryder Cup

At 43, Justin Rose is one of the older players on the European team for the 2023 Ryder Cup. After missing the previous edition of the Ryder Cup, he delivered outstanding performances in the 2022/2023 season that put him on captain Luke Donald’s radar. On both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, the Englishman proved himself to be a dangerous title chaser. Earlier this year, Rose prevailed on the PGA Tour at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to become the first European winner in the tournament’s history.

His biggest successes of the year were celebrated also on the PGA Tour with a sixth-place finish at the Players Championship and top-20 finishes at the US Masters and the PGA Championship. Rose also managed a rounded finish to the season on the PGA Tour with T22 at the FedEx St Jude Championship and T20 at the BMW Championship. His biggest success on European soil this year was fourth place at the Betfred British Masters in his home country. These consistently good performances coupled with his extensive Ryder Cup experience made him the right candidate for Team Europe for Luke Donald.

Delighted to have been called up by Luke to represent Team Europe in Rome! The Ryder Cup is an absolute honour to be a part of, and the intensity of the competition cannot be found elsewhere! So excited to get to feel that again!! Missing out last time around really spurred me… — Justin ROSE (@JustinRose99) September 4, 2023

Three victories in five Ryder Cup appearances

Justin Rose already has five Ryder Cups behind him: in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 as well as 2018 he was one of twelve Europeans to compete against the American team. In 2012, 2014 and 2018, he and his teammates celebrated victory in golf’s most famous team competition. After ten years of Ryder Cup, Justin Rose has a record of 13-8-2. He showed the most success in the Foursomes with his teammates, famously often playing alongside Swede Henrik Stenson, winning seven times, losing only twice and playing one draw. He earned his successes at the Ryder Cup through confident performances under high pressure and long putts that he put into the hole.

Justin Rose’s performance at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah was particularly memorable. The European team was already threatened with defeat on the final Sunday. Rose fought for every point in a singles match against Phil Mickelson and turned the tide after initially trailing on the 17th green when he holed a long putt for birdie. With team partner Henrik Stenson at his side, Rose has emerged over the years as the true great of the competition and has played a vital part in three European victories.

“Rosie’s” greatest successes

In his career Justin Rose collected one major victory in addition to eleven wins on the PGA Tour and eleven victories on the DP World Tour. His triumph at the US Open in 2013 is one of the greatest successes for the Englishman. He won the American Major at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, by two strokes. In 2016, when golf became an Olympic sport for the first time since 1904, Rose went all out and beat his favorite partner Stenson by two strokes, winning the gold medal. He also emerged as the overall winner of the PGA Tour’s season rankings in 2018 and was a FedExCup title winner. After some time without highlights, Rose showed himself to be a reliable golfer again last season and thus earned his place back on Team Europe.

Highlights Tours

2023 Ryder Cup: The six Captain’s Picks for Team USA

Zach Johnson has selected his wildcards for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Following the conclusion of the Tour Championship, the Team USA captain has six captain’s picks with which to complete his squad for the continental competition in Rome. In addition to season performance, current form, Ryder Cup experience and input from players who have already qualified will play a role in the selection process, among other factors.

Ryder Cup 2023: The six wildcards for Team USA

The following players will attempt to defend the American title at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club:

  • Sam Burns
  • Rickie Fowler
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Justin Thomas

Johnson explains his selection by the versatility of the players and how those choices give him a lot of flexibility in creating the pairings. “They fit well with Marco Simone, but they also fit well with each other,” he also alludes to the team aspect of his team composition.

With three rookies and three players with just one Ryder Cup on their resume already on the team via qualifying, Johnson opted for five experienced Ryder Cup players and another rookie in Sam Burns, but a match-play champion who should be a secret weapon for the team. Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth both have five Ryder Cup appearances to their credit. Spieth has been an integral part of the continental competition since 2014 and Johnson emphasizes his performance on and around the green, which should serve him well in the Marco Simone. Rickie Fowler returns to the Ryder Cup after 2018 and, in addition to his playing performance, will be an important element in the team room for the captain.

Brooks Koepka was also an obvious choice for the American captain with his win at the PGA Championship and runner-up finish at the Masters: “He’s made for the big stage and there’s no bigger bean than the Ryder Cup.”

Zach Johnson: “You just don’t leave JT at home.”

What may be controversial is the appointment of Justin Thomas to the team, who did not play his best season and even missed the PGA Tour Playoffs. But according to Johnson, “You just don’t leave JT at home.” “His passion for the Ryder Cup is obvious,” the captain said. “In my opinion, he was born for it.” Thomas will definitely have to prove himself on the course.

Already firmly qualified were world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark, Open Championship winner Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele. The Ryder Cup will be played a month from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.


Sotogrande claims the top two spots in latest Spanish Top 100 rankings 

World-famous Real Club Valderrama, is once again rated as the best golf course in the country. The 1997 Ryder Cup venue, located in the upper side of Sotogrande, which will soon play host to another elite field as the new LIV Golf league event comes to Sotogrande in June, remains one of the most revered courses in Europe.

All the best in one place

Sotogrande’s oldest golf course, Real Club Sotogrande, moved to second place in the national rankings, underlining the quality of courses in the destination, which is arguably unrivalled across Europe when proximity is factored in. 

Golf in Sotogrande is further bolstered by the presence of La Reserva Club at number 13 in the rankings, and the 27-hole Almenara Golf Club – recently redeveloped by legendary local golfer, Manuel Piñero – also featured within the list.  

Rita Jordao, Director of Sales & Marketing at Sotogrande SA, commented: “The latest Spanish rankings position Sotogrande as unequivocally the best golf destination in Spain. The strength of golf across the country is renowned, so it’s all the more pleasing for the golf courses within Sotogrande to be rated at the top.  

Home of the Ryder Cup

“We are constantly investing in our properties at Sotogrande SA, and alongside the other clubs in Sotogrande (Valderrama and Real Club Sotogrande), we are committed to continually providing best-in-class facilities for our residents, members and visitors.” 

The golf courses in Sotogrande have between them hosted the Ryder Cup, World Golf Championships, European Tour (DP World Tour) events, and Ladies European Tour events – including the recent Aramco Team Series. Within just a few kilometres radius, there are four championship golf courses: Real Club Valderrama, Real Club Sotogrande, La Reserva Club, and Almenara Golf. 

60 Years of Sotogrande

In 2023 Sotogrande is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a plentiful calendar of events for its residents and visitors to enjoy, celebrating everything which is unique about the area and the amenities it offers. In addition to a 60´s party at La Reserva Club’s The Beach, Sotogrande Regatta will make its return with the Real Club Maritimo de Sotogrande.  

Moreover, the calendar will include outdoor cinema events and firework displays, as well as an exhibition polo match at Ayala Polo Club, and a golf tournament at La Reserva Club, with more events throughout the year in the planning stages.   

Various residentital offers

A key element of the Sotogrande lifestyle is its residential offering and the private communities situated within the confines of La Reserva. These communities are aimed at clients with varying budgets, from the most premium, The Seven (plot prices starting from €7,600,000), to Village Verde, a collection of luxury penthouses and apartments (prices starting from €750,000).   

The most recent development within La Reserva, Village Verde, which has launched its second phase for 2023, is comprised of 121 apartments that are nestled within six hectares of parkland, offering residents a unique sense of modern community. It also benefits from a plethora of amenities, including swimming pools, a gym, spa, jogging trails, and gardens – all of which are included in ownership packages.   

New five-star hotel

Sotogrande is home to an internationally acclaimed school. It also boasts a bustling Marina catering for its popular sailing community, and it has recently opened a brand-new five-star hotel. To find out more about the golf, residential, and lifestyle offering in Sotogrande, head online to   

Written by Sotogrande

Highlights Tours

Nicolas Colsaerts named as vice captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup

Luke Donald has named Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts as his third Vice Captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup which will be played at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from September 26 – October 1, 2023.
Colsaerts was part of the most famous European victory in the annals of the Ryder Cup in the 2012 contest at Medinah; producing one of the most memorable debuts in the history of the event when he carded eight birdies and an eagle in partnership with Lee Westwood to help defeat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the final green in the Friday fourball session.
Outside of the Ryder Cup arena, Colsaerts has won three times on the DP World Tour, previously known as the European Tour. His most recent was a dramatic triumph in the 2019 Open de France, where he entered the week battling to keep his Tour card and ended it style with a one shot victory. To date, he has played in 436 Tour events to lie 84th in the list of all-time appearances.
Colsaerts is a well-liked figure on Tour and will undoubtedly be a popular addition to Team Europe. The Belgian joins Dane Thomas Bjørn, the successful 2018 European Captain, and Italian Edoardo Molinari as Vice Captains for the 2023 contest; his appointment being the perfect belated birthday gift for him as he turned 40 only last week.
Colsaerts said: “My first reaction when Luke asked me was sheer joy. Every time I hear the words ‘Ryder Cup’, it takes me back to the edition I played in, how proud I was to wear the European colours and be part of such an unbelievable event. Of course, Luke was in that team too and when we spoke he mentioned how much he has always loved what the Ryder Cup means to me.
“Being a Vice Captain is a different role to being a player but, nevertheless, my mission in 2023 will be exactly the same as it was in 2012, namely, to make a contribution to the team in any way I can. Rest assured, whatever I am asked to do, I will do it.
“We already have two fantastic Vice Captains in Thomas Bjørn and Edoardo Molinari and we already have a special bond between us. We are all different personalities but that is interesting because when you put us all in a room together you will have different angles, and Luke will be able to take what is best from each of us.
“When you play team sport as a youngster you are told that the most important thing is to participate and while that is true then, when you are a professional golfer in the Ryder Cup, when you wear the colours and you step onto that first tee, the only thing you want to do is to win; not only for the other guys on the team, but also for the Continent you are representing. That is what we want to do in Rome.”
Captain Donald said: “Nico has been on my mind for a couple of months now to be honest. I played in the team with him in 2012 and you could just see how much it meant to him. He understands what it means to represent the European crest and what it means to be part of the Ryder Cup set-up. When I asked him, he literally had goosebumps – so I am very happy to have him as my third Vice Captain.
“Nico gets along extremely well with all the guys out here on the DP World Tour and he will be a great person to help keep an eye on things here in Europe in periods when I might be in the US. There is already great communication between us – myself, Thomas, Edoardo and Nico – and I couldn’t be happier with the way my backroom team is shaping up.”

Text: Team Europe/ DP World Tour


Captains Donald and Johnson take the Ryder Cup to the Colosseum

The two captains chipped shots from a specifically built platform to a Ryder Cup green located in Tempio di Venere Roma (Temple of Venus and Roma), in the shadow of the world-famous Colosseum.

European Captain Donald and United States Captain Johnson are in Rome to mark 12 months until Italy hosts its first Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, from September 26 to October 1, 2023.

The pair took the famous Ryder Cup trophy into the heart of Rome to the Colosseum, one of the city’s most historic sights which attracts millions of tourists each year.

Built in the 1st Century AD, the stone amphitheatre was a gathering place during the Roman Empire, with a capacity of around 50,000 people.

Captain Donald said: “The Colosseum is iconic when it comes to Rome, built back in 80 A.D., I was reading up about it. It is still the biggest amphitheatre ever be to built. It’s amazing they were able to do such amazing things back so many years ago.

“So to have that as a backdrop was a great showcase for Italy and a great showcase for Rome.”

Captain Johnson said: “It was an unbelievable morning and to share it with Luke and Diane and my wife was special. I mean, it’s almost surreal. The backdrop of the Colosseum, the Temple of Venus, it’s something that you just kind of pinch yourself. It was very spectacular, and I appreciate that opportunity, so thank you.”

The Captains’ visit to the Colosseum and Tempio di Venere Roma marked the second day of the Year To Go Celebrations, and the pair also hosted their first joint press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Yesterday, Donald and Johnson were joined by 12 members of the Federazione Italiana Golf’s (FIG) Elite National Under 18 team – six boys and six girls aged 15-18 – and four members of the Elite Disabled team for the four-hole Captains’ Challenge match over the first, 16th, 17th and 18th holes at Marco Simone.

Approximately 300 local school children watched the event, which fittingly ended in a tie, with the two teams sharing the trophy.

On Monday evening, the two Captains joined 200 guests at the Official Gala Dinner which took place at the spectacular Palazzo Colonna.

Marco Simone will host the 2023 Ryder Cup from September 26 to October 1, 2023, when Europe will try to regain the Ryder Cup following defeat at Whistling Straits last year.

(Text: Ryder Cup)

European Tour

Prep for the Ryder Cup: DP World Tour brings team match play tournament

In the week leading up to the DP World Tour’s (formerly European Tour) flagship tournament – the BMW PGA Championship, which also kicks off Ryder Cup qualifying – the European circuit has announced a new tournament format. The Hero Cup in January 2023 will be played in team match play as a sort of replacement for the Seve Trophy last held in 2013. Captain Luke Donald is enthusiastic and hopes to prepare for the Ryder Cup.

DP World Tour: New team match play format

“One of the first things I was keen to do when I was appointed as Ryder Cup Captain was to reinstate a team match play contest to give playing and leadership experience to future Ryder Cup players, vice-captains and Captains,” the leader of the European Ryder Cup team for the 2023 continental competition in Rome is quoted as saying in a DP World Tour press release. The Hero Cup, scheduled to take place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from 13-15 January 2023, will feature two ten-man teams made up of British/Irish and Continental European golfers.

Donald will be in charge of the event and will assemble both teams in consultation with their respective captains, who are yet to be announced. The competition will consist of a fourball, a foursome and a singles round, each involving all 20 players. Who will be allowed to compete in the new tournament format will be announced after the season ends with the DP World Tour Championship 2022 in Dubai. The performance of the past season will also be taken into account in the selection.

Luke Donald with plenty of influence

“I spoke to a number of former Ryder Cup Captains who were strong advocates of how similar events in the past have benefitted players who were pushing to make Ryder Cup teams, as well as their own captaincy journey,” Donald, who was appointed skipper just a few weeks ago, said of the reasons for the new format.

The Ryder Cup captain thus continues to influence the design of the Continental Cup, which will be held in September 2023 at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome. Most recently, Donald, together with his vice-captains, had adjusted the qualifying criteria and given himself more leeway by selecting a larger number of picks. Now the aim is to increase competitiveness again through playing practice in team competition and in man-to-man battles after they went down in the “Waterloo of Wisconsin” against an overpowering American team in 2021.


Qualification Process Confirmed for the 2023 European Ryder Cup Team

Ryder Cup Europe today announced the qualification process for the 2023 European Ryder Cup Team to compete against the United States at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy, from September 25 – October 1, 2023.

Qualification for Team Europe will begin at the 2022 BMW PGA Championship, the fourth Rolex Series event of the current season, which takes place at Wentworth Club from September 8-11.

It will conclude on September 3, 2023, a full three weeks ahead of the Ryder Cup week, when the six players who qualify automatically will be confirmed. These six automatic qualifiers will comprise the three leading players on the European Points List followed by the three leading players on the World Points List.

European Captain Luke Donald will then select a further six Captain’s Picks to complete his 12-man team to face the United States.

Another change, agreed by Captain Donald, Vice Captains Thomas Bjørn and Edoardo Molinari and the DP World Tour Tournament Committee, sees a modification in the points allocation for the European Points List.

In previous years, the ratio between the highest and lowest ranked events on the DP World Tour exhibited a factor of 6:1 (12,000 points v 2,000 points). Under the new system, this is reduced to a factor of 4:1 (6,000 points v 1,500 points) as outlined in the table below.


Majors / DP World Tour Championship: 6,000 points
Other Rolex Series events / World Golf Championships: 5,000 points
Events of US$5 million or over: 3,500 points
Events of US$2 million or over: 2,500 points
Events under US$2 million: 1,500 points

One element which has not changed however, is that no points will be available from any tournament played anywhere in the world scheduled against a Rolex Series event on the DP World Tour.

Captain Donald said: “These changes to the qualification process for Team Europe follow in-depth analysis with the team at Ryder Cup Europe and with Thomas and Edoardo. I’m delighted that when we presented our thoughts to the Tournament Committee, they were 100% behind them.

“The revised overall process removes the need for points multipliers in the last few months of the qualifying period, and the six picks give me flexibility to ensure we have the strongest line-up at Marco Simone in terms of in-form players, players with Ryder Cup experience, and potential pairings.

“As far as the European Points List is concerned, modifying the points allocation will give an improved chance for DP World Tour members playing predominantly on the DP World Tour to make the Ryder Cup team through one of the now three spots available from that list.

“We have also moved the end of the qualification period forward to give the players the right amount of preparation time once they have made the team.

“A lot of work has already happened behind the scenes, but in many ways the start of the qualification campaign represents the true beginning of the Ryder Cup journey, so I am delighted to confirm these details today. We are all focused on reclaiming the Ryder Cup in Rome next September and this qualification system gives us the best opportunity of doing just that.”

“We are delighted with the details of the qualification process”

Guy Kinnings, European Ryder Cup Director, said: “We are delighted with the details of the qualification process for the 2023 European Ryder Cup team announced today. Luke has already proven himself to be a strong and resolute Captain with firm ideas on how to get the best out of Team Europe.

“He proved that throughout this consultation and analysis period and I think the fact that our Tournament Committee were fully behind his thoughts and ideas illustrated how much respect they have for him.

“Every single member of the Team Europe backroom team is excited by today’s announcement and very much looking forward not only to the start of the qualification campaign at the BMW PGA Championship, but also the full 12 month campaign leading up to Rome next September.”