Ryder Cup: Stenson to lead Europe, hungry for victory

Swede captain in Rome, will monitor all the Azzurri

Redazione ANSA ROME

(ANSA) - ROME, MAR 15 - Sweden's Henrik Stenson aka 'Iceman' was named Tuesday Europe's captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome.
    2016 British Open champ Stenson, 45, also won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has played in five Ryder Cups, in 2006, 2008, 2014, 2016 e 2018, winning three and losing two including a crushing defeat last September in Wisconsin, when he acted as vice captain to Ireland's Padraig Harrington.
    "We are hungry for victory" said Stenson in an exclusive interview with ANSA.
    "I'm honoured to captain Europe. My experiences as a player in this competition are unforgettable.
    "It will be electric to lead Europe at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome in 2023 before the wonderful Italian fans".
    The 44th Ryder Cup, which will take place September 29-October 1 next year, will be the first to be held in Italy.
    Stenson said the world of golf was ready to show it is at Ukraine's side after the Russian invasion. "The golf community will give its support, including to the Ukrainian federation," he said. "It's a terrible situation and the hope is that peace can come soon".
    Stenson has a good relationship with Italy, winning the International Championships in Lombardy as an amateur in 1996.
    He said he will keep a keen eye on Italy's golfers in view of the event. "We will prepare in the best possible way for the 2023 challenge," Stenson said. "We come off a defeat that showed all the strength and quality of the USA, but we will have the crowd on our side in Rome.
    As for the Italian players, Stenson said three-time Ryder Cup winner and 2018 Open champion Francesco Molinari is not the only one he will be watching. "Francesco Molinari was the best player at the Paris Ryder Cup in 2018, proving decisive until the end," Stenson said. "But he won't be the only Italian player I will follow in view of the 2023 event in Rome. "I intend to monitor all the tournaments that the Italians are involved in along with the other European players. "We have an 18-month journey ahead of us. "The road is long and it is impossible today to know who the 12 players on the course will be in 2023. "But I can guarantee that we will be ready. The team will be a mix of experience and youth. "I'll do my utmost to give all the players the necessary support". The favourites to be in the team include Spain's Jon Rahm and Norway's Viktor Hovland, the world number one and number three respectively, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. Ryder Cup Europe is set to announce the selection criteria soon. Stenson also spoke about the venue for the 2023 Ryder Cup, the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club. "I had the chance to experience the course by taking part in the 2021 Italian Open and I found it to be fantastic," he said. "I'll follow the preparation of the course as the event approaches in order to make the most of my players' characteristics".
    Stenson is a fantastic choice as team Europe's Ryder Cup captain for next year's event outside Rome, Italian Golf Federation President Franco Chimenti said after the appointment Tuesday. "Stenson is a fantastic choice. He's a very great player, who has shown his value in his excellent career and he has all the qualifications to represent Europe in such an important event", he said. "Stenson is, moreover, a decent man.
    I hope to meet him soon so I can compliment him personally. A plaudit for Ryder Cup Europe, too, for this excellent choice." Stenson must create unity and team-work, the director general of the Ryder Cup 2023 project, Gian Paolo Montali, said Tuesday.
    "I'm very happy for Henrik Stenson's appointment as captain of Team Europe for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome. It is a fundamental and extremely important choice for he coming challenge against the United States in which the Old Continent is called on to redeem the defeat to the US last September in Wisconsin. Stenson will lead the European team at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club at Guidonia Montecelio outside Rome next year. "His role will be very important to create unity and team work, above all at such a delicate moment in history. I look forward to his arriving in Italy, where he will find the utmost collaboration to return Team Europe to success".
    Born in Gothenburg on April 5, 1976, married with three children, Stenson was the first golfer to win the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai in the same year, in 2013. The first Swede to captain Europe, Stenson opted for golf over soccer and badminton before becoming a teenager. A very keen skier, he played his first gold round when he was just 12. A professional since 1998, he has also won the WGC Match Play Championship in 2007 and The Players Championship in 2009. (ANSA).