The Italian Open starts on Thursday at Marco Simone Golf Club, which also hosts the Ryder Cup at the end of September.
The Italian Open has added spice this year with the forthcoming on the minds of so many competitors and this week is not just about the tournament itself, but also the chance to bolster claims to represent Team Europe.
|Where||Marco Simone Golf Club, Rome, Italy|
|When||06:30, Thursday 4th May, 2023|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Golf and bet365 Live Golf Tracker|
|Odds||Nicolai Hojgaard 18/1, Adrian Meronk 18/1, Victor Perez 20/1, Robert MacIntyre 20/1, Rasmus Hojgaard 20/1, Jordan Smith 22/1, Thorbjorn Olesen|
None of the likely candidates for the American Ryder Cup side have jetted over to see the Marco Simone layout – and all of Europe's biggest stars are also elsewhere – but there is a gaggle of European Ryder Cup hopefuls in attendance.
The Hojgaard brothers will hog much of the early spotlight. Edoardo Molinari and Francesco Molinari became the first siblings to team up in the modern era of the Ryder Cup when partnering at the 2010 match – and the Hojgaards are looking to follow in the Molinaris' footsteps.
Rasmus Hojgaard has had some injury issues this year and failed to make a huge impact. He can be backed at 20/1 for Italian Open glory.
His twin, Nicolai, will probably be the more popular selection, as he has been hugely impressive all year, starting with an exceptional performance for Continental Europe in the Hero Cup.
Nicolai, who is an 18/1 chance to win the Italian Open, was third in the Corales Puntacana Championship on the PGA Tour at the end of March.
He followed up with 28th place in the Texas Open, some bright golf in the Zurich Classic pairs event alongside a struggling Thorbjorn Olesen, then 33rd last week in the Mexico Open.
The Hojgaards have eyes on the Ryder Cup, as well as Robert MacIntyre, the Scottish left-hander.
Nicolai Hojgaard and MacIntyre have won the last two Italian Opens at the Marco Simone, so have proved they can produce the goods at the Ryder Cup venue.
MacIntyre is a 20/1 chance to successfully defend his Italian Open title this week. He has let a lot of excellent winning chances slip through his fingers in recent weeks, including last time out in the Korea Championship.
He closed with 11 consecutive pars for seventh place in Korea.
Standard each-way terms of a quarter the odds, the first five places, are available for the Italian Open, as well as alternative options, like a fifth the odds, first eight, in the Each Way Extra section.
Marco Simone Golf Club, Guidonia, Rome, is a 7,255-yard, par 71, with three par-fives.
The course record is 64, fired by three players – Min Woo Lee, Henrik Stenson and Robert MacIntyre.
The course, designed by Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane, opened in 1991 and took over as Italian Open host in 2021.
It sets up well for big-hitters, featuring two driveable par-fours, and sunny, pleasant weather is forecast this week.
Sweet-swinging Frenchman Victor Perez is another European who will be hoping to use the Italian Open to advertise his Ryder Cup claims – and about him taking the title will catch the eye of his fans.
Perez played some good golf alongside Thomas Detry last time out in the Zurich Classic pairs event – they tied for 13th place in that PGA Tour gathering.
Perez has finished 18th and third in the Italian Open the last two years and will expect to contend again.
The Ryder Cup will also be on the mind of Adrian Meronk, who is looking to become the first Pole to represent Europe in golf's most famous team competition.
Winning the Italian Open would go a long way to booking his place on Luke Donald's side and he is for success.
Meronk's driving ability makes him a huge dangerman at the Marco Simone, where he was second in 2021.
He won the Irish Open last summer, then the Australian Open just before Christmas and is the highest-ranked player in the Italian Open field.
The against the name of Guido Migliozzi may tempt punters for many reasons.
Firstly, he is on home turf, relishing the opportunity to impress in front of family, friends and supportive home galleries.
The Italian had a great record as an amateur in his homeland and should be inspired by this opportunity.
Secondly, Migliozzi is in form, having signed off from the Korea Championship last week with a spectacular round of 63.