One of the oldest and most prestigious
events on the European Tour, the Italian Open has been won by some of the
biggest names in golf, and this year’s tournament is set to crown a sparkling
2016 for Italian golf when it takes place in Milan next month.
Golf Club Milano will have the honour of
hosting the championship for the eighth time when the 73rd edition of the
Italian Open is held in Lombardy, northern Italy, from September 15-18.
Recent winners of the title have included
European Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter (twice), Graeme McDowell and Francesco
Molinari, and this year’s world-class line-up is set to feature US Masters
champion Danny Willett, Martin Kaymer, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Westwood and
Rafael Cabrera Bello.
Italian number one Molinari, his brother
Edoardo and Matteo Manassero will lead the home challenge competing for a
record prize fund of €3m, with the total money on offer rising to €7m in 2017
as the build-up gathers pace ahead of Italy hosting the Ryder Cup for the first
time in its history in 2022.
With the Italian Golf Federation playing a
leading role under the leadership of President Franco Chimenti, and helped by
the launch this year of the new Italy Golf & More project, Italy continues
to enhance its position as one of Europe’s top golf destinations.
The number of international green fee
bookings has risen by more than 20 per cent in the first half of 2016 compared
to the same period last year, with Italy proving particularly popular with
players from the UK, Germany, Switzerland, France and Scandinavia.
Bruno Bertero, project coordinator for
Italy Golf & More, said: “These are exciting times for golf in Italy, and
this year’s Italian Open is forecast to break all sorts of records for the
tournament, including for the number of people attending.
“The substantial increase in prize money this year and next will help
to raise the profile further in Europe, and introduce a far wider audience to
the many benefits of playing golf in Italy.”
Featuring no fewer than 141 18-hole
courses, Italy is the ideal place to combine a golfing break with the chance to
experience many of its other historic, cultural and gastronomic delights, and a
further period of growth is forecast following the 2022 Ryder Cup announcement
and the creation of Italy Golf & More.
The first pan-Italian promotional project
for golf, Italy Golf & More is a collaboration between 11 private sector
partner regions, the Italian Golf Federation and the Ministry of Tourism
(MIBACT), who have come together to embark on a seven-figure investment to
increase awareness, and future golf tourism traffic, from key European markets
The partner regions consist of Lombardy,
Piedmont, Lazio, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna,
Puglia, Sicily, Marche and Umbria – who together boast 115 of Italy’s golf
courses – with seven further regions falling under the investment of the
Italian Golf Federation.
With 20 airports in the UK now operating
regular flights to all over Italy, the country has never been so accessible,
while its warm climate and mixture of mouth-watering cuisine, fine wines, spas,
history, culture and beaches make it the perfect location for a golf break.
Golfers can take advantage of outstanding
value on stay-and-play packages when visiting next month’s Italian Open – with
four-night packages starting from just €357 (approx £300) per person.
As well as including entry to the
tournament each day, the range of breaks include four nights’ bed and breakfast
at a choice of hotel accommodation around Lake Como and two rounds of golf per
person at eight of the leading courses in the area including Villa d’Este,
Castelconturbia, Menaggio, Le Robinie and Bogogno.