This year’s Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome may look like a U.S. Open to some.
At least, that is what Shane Lowry believes.
Lowry, along with the 11 other members of the European Ryder Cup team, visited the Eternal City to scout Marco Simone on Monday.
“The rough is pretty thick, but you need to hit fairways, and you need to hit greens, and you need to stay in the hole, and that’s the way we like it,” Lowry said of the golf course Tuesday.
“It’s pretty brutal in spots, but it’s no different to what you might see at the U.S. Open or something like that. If you go decently off the fairways, that’s going to get very interesting, so yeah.”
Should they miss the short grass, those teeing it up in the biennial competition may draw some gnarly lies.
The thick rough was actually a point of emphasis for Team USA when the Americans scouted the course late last week.
But since this edition of the Ryder Cup will be contested in Italy, the Europeans have the liberty of setting up the course as the home team. Typically, Team Europe likes to narrow the fairways and thicken the rough to make the course more challenging.
They hope their course setup will stymie the Americans yet again too, as Team USA has not won the Ryder Cup on European soil since 1993.
“So I think, look, they tried — like the Americans do, when they get their home Ryder Cup, they try and set up the golf course to suit them, and I think the vice captains are trying to set up the golf course to suit us,” Lowry said. “If you hit a good driver and a second shot down the fairway — that’s what golf’s about. That’s how I see it.”
Joining Captain Luke Donald as Vice Captains for Team Europe are Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, and former Ryder Cup captains Thomas Bjorn and Jose Maria Olazábal.
Each captain also made the quick trip, which undoubtedly helped the younger players, specifically Ludvig Åberg, 23, and Nicholai Højgaard, 22.
“Especially for the younger lads yesterday, it was very, very cool,” Lowry said.
“Just to get everyone involved and everyone feels like The Ryder Cup is almost starting and you know because when you get there the week of, and it’s your first Ryder Cup, even if it’s not your first Ryder Cup, the week goes by quickly. So you get in and before you know it, it’s Wednesday or Thursday, and you maybe feel like you haven’t really got to do what you would have liked.”
Now, the 12 Europeans will tee it up at the BMW PGA Championship, where the DP World Tour paired each of the Ryder Cuppers together.
The European camaraderie will only improve in England, just as it did Monday evening in Italy when the team joined together for dinner.
Perhaps they will be adequately prepared to handle the thick rough, too.
The 44th Ryder Cup begins on Sept. 29.