Franco Chimenti: "Ryder Cup with serenity"

"We knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into. I embarked on this journey with great serenity, fully aware that my position as President was on the line"

by Andrea Gussoni
Franco Chimenti: "Ryder Cup with serenity"
© Getty Images Sport - Stuart Franklin / Staff

The Ryder Cup approaches, and the 2023 edition at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Guidonia Montecelio, just east of Rome, from September 29th to October 1st, will be a monumental occasion for Italy. Never before has our country been bestowed with such a prestigious honor - a unique opportunity to showcase ourselves to the world.

During the Sky Sport press conference, which unveiled their extensive programming, key figures in the event and beyond took the stage.

Franco Chimenti, statements

Franco Chimenti, the President of the Italian Golf Federation, expressed his thoughts: "We knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into.

I embarked on this journey with great serenity, fully aware that my position as President was on the line. I pursued this idea because it was far more important to me to make my vision a reality than to remain in a comfortable job.

I was right. No one believed it. It was an incredible scene that I held onto like a lingering nightmare, but it was a pleasant one. I had privately learned that, since we were the last four candidates, the communication would be made the next day (which was kept secret).

It would be done over the phone, with each candidate receiving a call every fifteen minutes starting at 10 am. I knew they would start at exactly 10 am, and subsequent calls would follow at 10:15 am, 10:30 am, and 10:45 am.

We were in my room, about thirty people and Lavinia. The English are punctual. At 10 am, the call didn't come, but I had no doubt it would. At 10:15 am, it was already a confirmation that we were still in the running. The certainty came at 10:30 am.

But that's when the release came too. Our true rival among the four was Spain. Everyone feared that Spain, having hosted it in 1997 to honor the great Seve Ballesteros, would be chosen. The joy at 10:45 am was indescribable."

Gian Paolo Montali, who became the General Director of the Ryder Cup project in 2016, shared his thoughts: "It seemed so far away, but now we're here.

We're working on the final details. It's like going to university when you have an exam - you can't just improvise in the last week. That's why I keep telling my team to stay calm. If we've done our work well beforehand, we will reap the rewards.

We're paying close attention to the most important aspect, which is accommodating 250,000 people, 70% of whom will be foreigners. Our concern is ensuring they arrive on the course in time for the first match and safely return home, because we won't relax until the last spectator is back at their hotel.

It's a difficult sensation to explain because what you see is just the sport-technical aspect, but behind it is a city created within a completely renovated golf course. We've worked hard for seven years with three different teams - Lavinia Biagiotti's team, the Federation, and Ryder Cup Europe.

We've put everything into making sure that everything that was required could be implemented. We'll see what happens on Sunday evening."

Roberto Zappa, who is not only a historical voice of Sky but also guides the national women's selection, also chimed in: "Francesca Fiorellini, two days ago, made history by earning three points out of three at the Junior Solheim Cup.

She will be accompanied by Giovanni Binaghi. Two Italians will participate in the Junior Ryder Cup. In short: we come from six consecutive defeats against the USA. The event began gaining momentum in 1997. Many champions have taken part, such as McIlroy, Manassero, and Paratore.

In the women's competition in 2018, Emilie Alba Paltrinieri and Alessia Nobilio were in the Team Europe. This year, with Francesca Fiorellini and Giovanni Binaghi, our goal is to add another victory to the European roster. Alberto Binaghi and I will be present to ensure the best preparation for the event.

Starting from Sunday afternoon, we will be at the Golf Nazionale, which has been deemed perfect to host the tournament. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the format will be identical to the Ryder Cup, and for the first time on Thursday morning, the 12 singles matches will be played on the Ryder Cup course before the opening ceremony.

It will truly be wonderful to have two Italian players; it's a beautiful event. I suggest that spectators arrive before the opening ceremony on Thursday morning because there is some fantastic golf to be seen."