MADRID – There is also a common thread between Spain and Italy on golf courses. For example, they are the only continental European countries to have ever hosted the sport’s most prestigious tournament, the Ryder Cup. In 1997 it was Valdarama’s turn in Andalusia. Next year it will be Rome’s turn. “Since 1927, the Ryder Cup has a very high symbolic, media and economic value,” explained Riccardo Guariglia, the Italian Ambassador in Madrid, who today hosted the trophy at our main diplomatic office in Spain. “There are revenues for the countries that host them, as well as in terms of image, tourism and return flows”.
The presentation of the Italian version of the tournament (where the American and European teams face off) was an opportunity, as well as a special opportunity to promote the event abroad for a special prize. In 1979, the British and Irish team (until a few years before the British) never competed against the US team, which always won. The competition was bad and not interesting anymore,” explained Guariglia. It was then, he added, that a decision was made that would become “a turning point in the history of golf”: the team from the United Kingdom and Ireland was expanded to “continental” Europe, because Spain “had the most castles. Including the legendary Severiano Ballesteros.”
To celebrate the myth of these heroes of Spanish golf, an extraordinary guest was invited to today’s event: Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida, a self-proclaimed golf enthusiast and passionate fan of the Ryder Cup. “Everything indicates. To be the best venue to host it”, he said, feeling a debt of gratitude to Italy and Italian golf at this moment.
However, the Mayor of Madrid was not the only person known to have attended the presentation of the prestigious Golfistico trophy: among those present was Gian Paolo Montali, the great captain of Italian volleyball in the past (for example, the Olympic winner. Silver as head of the men’s national team) and now the general manager of the Ryder Cup 2023 project.
“Thanks to this international institutional meeting, our project has crossed national borders for an event of the highest honor that strengthens the proximity between Spain and Italy while increasing golf tourism”, he said.
Before him, representatives of the respective federations of this sport also intervened. “Italian golf was the absolute hero in such a spectacular setting as Madrid”, said Maria Amelia Loli Getty, Deputy Vice President of the Italian Golf Federation (FIG). “I am convinced that there will be a before and after for Italian golf in Spain,” added Claudia Hernandez, vice president of the Real Federation Española de Golf.
At the end of the event, which featured iconic photographs of golf and the Ryder Cup and featured promotional videos of the tournament, Ambassador Guariglia reminded the public of Rome’s candidacy to host the 2030 Universal Expo.
Francesco Rodella / Madrid Editorial Team
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