Ryder Cup wives tour Rome, player arrivals and the Marco Simone pool | Rogers Report
ROME — Hello friends, and welcome to my first-ever European Rogers Report! I am here lounging on a bean bag chair in the media center at Marco Simone. Before we get into all the good stuff — what’s happening on the grounds at the Ryder Cup — allow me to take you through the last day-and-a-half of my life.
I lied. We’ll start in 2018, when I was supposed to join my college roommates on an international spring break trip. Except I didn’t get a passport. Then I was asked to go to France in mid-April for work this year, which I also couldn’t attend because I still hadn’t gotten a passport. Same thing with the Open this year. So while historians may look back on the Miracle at Medinah, any miracles that occur at Marco Simone this week simply pale in comparison to the fact that I somehow got it together enough to not only get a passport, but to get one in time for the Ryder Cup.
I flew direct from Boston to Rome and met a priest from Detroit while waiting in line to check our bags. We discussed the Ryder Cup and the ordinations happening in the Vatican this week. Big week for Roman Catholic golf fans, I guess. (I’m including this bit here to make my Catholic parents proud!) After not sleeping a wink on my flight, I met up with my coworker, Dylan Dethier, headed to our AirBnb and was ready to hit the turf running.
As someone who has not been overseas since the Clinton administration, I’m in total awe of this place (and I haven’t even done anything touristy yet). We can walk to the course from our house, and we walked to dinner on Monday night as well. Every single piece of food I’ve had has been insanely good. If I wasn’t heading back to Boston for a wedding this weekend, I might’ve stayed here for good.
Okay, on to the last two days.
Monday at Marco Simone was really about getting a lay of the land. Have you ever arrived to a party just a little too early while they’re still setting up some of the final decorations? That’s kind of how the Ryder Cup felt on Monday, which I’m not complaining about, because there’s nothing better than walking an empty(ish) golf course.
I walked a few holes with my coworkers before we ran into a squad of Team USA on one of the greens. They drove up in carts, took a few minutes walking around it separately as they wrote in their yardage books, and then convened in the middle of the green to compare notes and discuss what they saw. That’s a big theme at these team events: information-sharing. When I headed over to the range, Max Homa was helping Sam Burns out with his swing.
The prep this week is like when you get to study with your best friends for an exam. Not only is it beneficial, I’m willing to bet it’s also a whole lot of fun.
I’d be remiss not to mention that the teams arrived in style.
And while I do love a good bomber jacket with a latte in hand, I have to hand it to the American team: their arrival, as always, was second-to-none.
Aside from the gala pics (obviously), the ol’ “stepping off the plane at the Ryder Cup” snap has become my favorite genre of golf photos. The men are looking sharp, and the gals look like they’re on a bachelorette trip on Nantucket (in the absolute best way). And before any of you freak out, Annie Spieth just had a baby, and the Koepkas flew from Chicago after the LIV Golf event.
Let’s take a look at some old plane arrival photos from Ryder Cups past, shall we? According to Getty Images, the “just hopped off the plane” team photo tradition dates to 1953!
I’ll bless you all with a few others as well.
After a solid eight hours of sleep on Monday night, I woke up ready to go on Tuesday. Once we arrived at the course and I finally figured out the coffee machine, I headed out to follow Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in their practice-round match. The BFF battle!
Do not be mistaken: This may have been a practice round among pals, but it’s abundantly clear just how seriously these guys are taking their prep. Also, I don’t know for sure who did it, but when the Americans arrived to one of the greens, the tees that they had placed down to mark possible pin locations were missing. Captain Zach Johnson asked the crowd if they knew who picked them up. The fans said they weren’t sure. Some believe the European Team picked them up, but who could say? We may never know.
Then I made my way over to check out the European team’s practice rounds, and it is safe to say the fans adore Fleetwood, McIlroy and Lowry.
It’s only Tuesday, and there were a lot of people out following. I can’t imagine how loud the roars are going to be come Sunday afternoon in Rome.
The wives head into Rome
While we may not see the players’ better halves out on the course until the matches start, the wives and girlfriends of the Ryder Cup team members have been occupied with planned activities. On Monday, the gals of the American team headed to the Colosseum.
And on Tuesday, they spent the day doing exploring, shopping and eating their way around Rome. Many of you are thankful that Brooks Koepka is on the Ryder Cup team. I am too, but for a different reason. In addition to his ability to bring some serious game to the team, having Koepka on the team means that his wife, Jena Sims, is hanging out with all the other wives this week. And lucky for us, she’s an Instagram content machine. If she’s there, it sort of feels like we’re all there (at least on social media).
Jena, if you’re reading this, thanks for making my search for Ryder Cup WAG content a whole lot easier. And if any wives on the European Ryder Cup side want to step up to the plate here and start posting a bit more, I’d be forever grateful.
The gals also posed while tossing coins into the Trevi Fountain, or as I like to call it, living out my Lizzie McGuire Movie dream.
I’ve made a few random observations whilst here at Marco Simone that I’ve decided to include here. First is the fact that the walls behind the grandstand at the first tee replicate (sort of) the Colosseum, with Team Europe blue of course.
Next up is the fact that the tent that players are doing their press conferences this week was built right on top of the pool at Marco Simone.
How about that? The pool may be off-limits, but I’m not against the winning team taking their celebration to the hot tub on Sunday.
Next up is shoes. While the teams might be in uniform, it looks like they’ve all got their own sponsored-made Ryder Cup edition golf kicks this week.
And finally, bean bags. Once you get past the initial shock that comes with checking out my sweet new kicks, I encourage you to look beyond that and see just how many bean bags are scattered around the stage and television viewing area at Marco Simone.
I’m going to be frank here about my mediocre photography skills. You know how they say the Masters broadcast doesn’t do Augusta National justice? It’s the same with my camera and the bean bags here. There’s at least 100 of them in this area, and then about a dozen or so in the media center, which all of us jet-lagged journalists are very thankful for.