Ryder Cup players Nicolas Colsaerts, Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari will fine tune their games for the Medinah contest by playing in the BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi, which will boast one of the strongest fields in its illustrious history.
With The Ryder Cup taking place in Chicago two weeks later, the €1.5million event at Royal Park I Roveri from September 13–16 will be the last competitive outing for the trio before they join Captain José María Olazábal and their team-mates in the quest to retain the trophy for Europe.
Colsaerts and Molinari will both be chasing their second European Tour title of the season, having claimed the Volvo World Match Play Championship and the Open de España respectively, while former World Number One Kaymer, a ten-time European Tour winner, will be looking to find his best form after claiming the final automatic qualifying spot in the European Team.
For Molinari, who hails from Turin, it will be a return to the event which provided his breakthrough victory on The European Tour – albeit at a different venue – having romped to a four-shot win at Castello di Tolcinasco in 2006.
Olazábal will also tee it up at Royal Park I Roveri on the outskirts of Turin, as will two of his Vice Captains, Paul McGinley and Miguel Angel Jiménez, and the man who led Europe to glory at The Celtic Manor Resort in 2010, Colin Montgomerie.
There are four Major Champions in the star-studded field, with Olazábal and Kaymer joined by Todd Hamilton, the 2004 Open Champion, and Rich Beem, who claimed the 2002 US PGA Championship, while Englishman Robert Rock will defend the title he won last year, when he finished one shot clear of Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen.
The home charge is boosted by the presence of teenager Matteo Manassero, one of a group of prodigiously talented Italians which also includes Andrea Pavan and Federico Colombo, who both came through the Challenge Tour Rankings last season, as well as Lorenzo Gagli, who was 49th in The 2011 Race to Dubai, and 16 year old Domenico Geminiani.
Manassero said: “It was great to contend in my national open last year, and to play in front of our home crowd is something I think all Italian players really look forward to. It goes without saying that I would love to win the tournament one day. It would be one of the most important moments in my whole career if I could win the Italian Open in front of all my friends at Royal Park I Roveri.”
Constantino Rocca, the man who inspired a generation of golfing Italians with his five European Tour wins and three Ryder Cup appearances in a hugely successful career spanning 30 years, will be playing on a sponsor’s invitation.