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Ryder Cup captains Luke Donald and Zach Johnson took part in a challenge with junior and disabled golfers to mark a year to go until the contest kicks off.

The pair visited Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the host for next year’s match, for the “Captain’s Challenge”.

Donald and Johnson were joined by 12 members of the Federazione Italiana Golf’s (FIG) elite under-18 team and four members of the elite disabled team for the four-hole match.

The event launched the Year To Go celebrations, with two days of activities taking place in Rome to mark 12 months until the tournament visits Italy for the first time.

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It was also the first joint appearance by the two captains since their appointments earlier this year.

“Legacy is a really important part of the Ryder Cup,” said Donald.

“Having the Ryder Cup here will hopefully garner new interest in the game and encourage a new generation to take up golf. We saw some amazing golf from the players today. It was a fantastic way to kick off this week.

“The Ryder Cup is a huge deal in golf. It is our biggest team event which brings in viewers who don’t even play golf because of the great rivalry and history. So today is a great way to start the Year To Go and tell people what an amazing event the Ryder Cup is.”

The contestants were split into two teams for the event, which ended in a tie.

Both captains watched the fourball matches tee off before playing the par-3 17th with each group.

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“Today was fun,” Johnson added.

“It was something different, something unique. I think the beauty of this game and the Ryder Cup is that a year in advance we can play golf with kids who love the game, and we can showcase it in a cool way.

“It was very special. I was little jealous of some of their swings and their youth. They all have big aspirations and they are competitors. They were fist pumping and helping each other read putts, so there was a great team atmosphere. It was great to see their big smiles.”

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