It's Italian Open week at the soon-to-be Ryder Cup venue, but the core of Luke Donald's team will not be there. Alex Perry and Matt Chivers discuss
It feels like there is an elevated-purse event every week on the PGA Tour as the world’s best flock to the Wells Fargo Championship.
But could this have a detrimental effect on the DP World Tour, and Team Europe in the Ryder Cup, in the same week the Italian Open is held in Rome?
And not just any venue in Rome, but Marco Simone which will host the biennial event that Europe will desperately want to win after being humbled by America at Whistling Straits in 2021.
Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, and Tommy Fleetwood are all in Charlotte this week looking to win the winner’s share of $20 million.
The first four names on that list played in this DP World Tour event back in September, giving golf fans a taste of what to expect from the Ryder Cup course.
Has the tour missed a chance to unite its best players for a week in Italy ahead of a crucial Ryder Cup? We discussed it in the latest episode of The Slam podcast…
‘This is a costly scheduling error by the DP World Tour’
This is a huge scheduling error on behalf of the DP World Tour, because they should want all of their top talents playing in Italy, and not in North Carolina, says Alex Perry.
Especially with it being the host venue of this year’s Ryder Cup with only a few months until Luke Donald actually chooses half of his team members.
In general, this scheduling mistake makes you contemplate the strategic alliance. This is a massive own goal from the DP World Tour, who have allowed their best players to be lured by the elevated purse at the Wells Fargo Championship. (Let’s be clear that it isn’t their fault – their hands are tied by the elevated purse rules.)
I can’t imagine Captain Donald will say it publicly, but he must be fuming that the schedule has fallen in such an unfavourable way.
The Italian Open could have been organised against a lower-ranking PGA Tour event to allow the best European players to head to Rome in a symbol of unity following the thrashing at Whistling Straits.
‘The players will always follow the PGA Tour money, but it’s still disappointing’
You can’t resent European players for playing at the Wells Fargo Championship with the $20 million prize fund, says Matt Chivers, but I can’t help feeling disappointed at some of them.
The likes of Seamus Power, Alex Noren, and Sepp Straka are fringe Ryder Cup players and their participation isn’t guaranteed, even though a win at Quail Hollow for either of them would boost their chances no-end.
But I think it is a missed opportunity to go to the Ryder Cup venue to play on the DP World Tour, in a weakened field, and impress Luke Donald right under his nose.
There will probably be two prominent European players paired with Donald in the first two rounds at Marco Simone, and that could’ve been Power, Straka, or Noren who all played in the Hero Cup and benefitted from spending time with their prospective captain.
The likes of Jordan Smith, Guido Migliozzi, and Victor Perez will be determined to play their best stuff and cement their places in Donald’s mind, and their participation in Italy this week could prove to be crucial.
Listen to more on The Slam
We discuss this and much more on the latest episode of The Slam, a National Club Golfer podcast in association with Callaway. Listen in the player below, or click the button to head straight to your preferred podcast platform.