Fitzpatrick and Molinari confirmed for strong Italian Open

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Matt Fitzpatrick (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Major Champions Matt Fitzpatrick and Francesco Molinari will join European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald and defending champion Nicolai Højgaard at the 79th edition of the DS Automobiles Italian Open at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, from September 15-18.

The star players join four-time Major Champion and newly crowned FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy, World Number 11 Viktor Hovland and past Italian Open winners Tyrrell Hatton (2017) and Thorbjørn Olesen (2018), in the world class field as Italy prepares to host the 44th edition of golf’s greatest team event from September 29 – October 1, 2023.

Fitzpatrick, the reigning U.S Open champion, claimed his maiden Major at The Country Club, Brookline after a stunning final day performance nine years after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship at the same venue, becoming just the second golfer next to Jack Nicklaus to win the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur on the same golf course.

The Englishman finished runner up at the 2019 Italian Open and will be hoping to go one better when the 27-year-old tees it up at Marco Simone for the first time alongside younger brother Alex, who made his professional debut earlier this year at the Horizon Irish Open following an impressive amateur career which included Walker Cup appearances in 2019 and 2021.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Rome for this year’s Italian Open and to have Alex alongside me, it will be extra special,” said Fitzpatrick, the current World Number Ten. “Of course it is the Ryder Cup venue, so I am intrigued to see how the golf course plays, but I have done well in the past at this tournament and have every intention to hopefully be in the mix come Sunday.”

Molinari, a two-time winner of his national open in 2006 and 2016, became Italy’s first Major Champion by winning The Open Championship at Carnoustie in 2018. That historic victory was part of a stellar year that saw the six-time DP World Tour winner claim five points from five at the Ryder Cup in Paris and go on to become the first Italian to be crowned European Number One.

“There are so many reasons to be excited for the Italian Open,” said Molinari. “It is a tournament that I love and have had success at in the past, that is something everyone knows, but for myself and the other Italian players, we want to showcase Marco Simone and everything Rome has to offer.”

Donald will tee it up for a second time at Marco Simone alongside his vice captains Thomas Bjørn and Edoardo Molinari, as Team Europe look ahead to the biennial contest.

The former World Number One, who in 2011 became the first player in history to top both the European and PGA TOUR money lists in the same year, is excited to return to the Eternal City as part of his preparations for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

“The Italian Open is an important part of the Team Europe journey, but it is also a tournament I have enjoyed playing in the past, and I’m excited to test my game at Marco Simone,” said Donald.

“Rome will be a fantastic host city, I have always enjoyed spending time there with my wife and friends, so I have no doubt it will provide an incredible backdrop for our great game.”

Defending champion Nicolai Højgaard and brother Rasmus, who are aiming to follow in Bjørn’s footsteps as Danish representatives at the Ryder Cup, will tee it up at the Italian Open as they look to add to their combined five DP World Tour titles.

Filippo Celli, the Italian amateur who claimed the Silver Medal at The 150th Open Championship, will also join fellow countrymen and rising stars of the DP World Tour Guido Migliozzi and Renato Paratore on home soil.

It is the third time Marco Simone – part of the European Tour Destinations network – has hosted Italy’s national open having previously done so in 1994 and 2021, the latter saw Højgaard crowned champion, and spectators can enjoy unrivalled vantage points of the on-course action as well as distant views of the famous Eternal City, including spectacular views of St Peter’s Basilica and of the Castle of Marco Simone.

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