The DP World Tour touches down on European soil for the first time this season as Marco Simone plays host to the DS Automobiles Italian Open in what is anything but a dress rehearsal for September’s Ryder Cup.
Top European talent and all of America’s Ryder Cup contenders are pre-occupied with the millions of dollars on offer at the Wells Fargo Championship in the latest instalment of the PGA Tour’s designated events.
Still, the chance to impress captain Luke Donald still remains for Frenchman Victor Perez who will be paired with is potential European skipper. Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan, Ewen Ferguson, Adrian Meronk, the Hojgaard twins, Robert MacIntyre and home favourite Guido Migliozzi can all stake a claim for a swift return to Rome in September.
Scotsman MacIntyre announced his Ryder Cup credentials when he held off Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick – both of whom are missing this week – to win last year.
Tom McKibbin, John Murphy and Gary Hurley endured their struggles on the DP World Tour’s Asian swing so perhaps a return to mainland Europe might coincide with some positive performances.
McKibbin has missed his last two cuts in Japan and Korea while Hurley is looking to arrest a run of five successive missed cuts.
Murphy returns to action looking to play weekend golf on the DP World Tour for the first time this season.
Holywood’s McKibbin will lead the Irish charge on Thursday alongside Joel Starter and Gunner Wiebe of the USA.
Kinsale’s Murphy tees it up with Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Robin Sciot-Siegrist while Hurley has been grouped with David Horsey and Clement Sordet.
The field overall is disappointing considering this offered the opportunity for some competitive practice for both European and American players.
USA Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson was unsure back in January whether or not he would deploy some of his troops in Rome this week with the Wells Fargo clashing with proceedings in Marco Simone.
“I don’t think I will encourage anybody necessarily to go out and play the Italian Open… Nothing against the Italian Open. If they want to go play, that’s great. I think it’s fantastic. But at the same time, there is a lot going on here.
“We’re not going to receive Ryder Cup points in the Italian Open, so that would be something we don’t want to go down and Charlotte doesn’t deserve that. Quail Hollow and everybody at Wells Fargo doesn’t deserve that, because that’s an awesome tournament. So that’s not what we’re going to be doing.”
Johnson intends to take his side to Marco Simone Golf Club on a scouting mission after his 12-man team has been finalised in September.
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