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Published on : Tuesday, August 9, 2016
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 co-ordinator 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 to Italy.
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.