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Golf coach Pete Cowen has warned that the “horrendous” Marco Simone layout will cause huge problems for caddies at the Ryder Cup.

Marco Simone Golf and Country Club is the backdrop for the first Ryder Cup ever to be staged in Italy after beating Spain, Germany and Austria to the rights back in 2015.

There’s plenty of excitement about this year’s venue as the transatlantic rivalry resumes in the Italian countryside, just ten miles outside the heart of Rome.

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The past three Italian Opens have given fans an insight into what’s in store for the 24 players on the harsh rolling hills of Marco Simone, with long doglegs and contoured greens that are protected by deep rough providing an intriguing test.

But Cowen is far from impressed by Europe’s choice of venue overlooking the Eternal City.

The Yorkshireman, who works with five-time major champion and US player Brooks Koepka, is not a fan of the undulating design, which features up to nine “blind” approach shots into greens.

“I don’t like the course, I think the course is horrendous,” Cowen told “It’s too hilly, too many blind shots, it’s not my favourite course.”

Cowen, gearing up for his 13th Ryder Cup, is particularly concerned about the grueling elevation changes that he believes will test caddies to the limit.

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“The caddies will find it very very demanding,” he said. “If you’re caddying for four rounds in two days, I think on the third day you’ll be in a bad way.

“It’s very hard work, it really is. For the players as well if they’re playing four or five matches. That’s what happened to Rahm at Whistling Straits, he’d played all four matches then he played in the singles and he was knackered.”

Cowen raises a pertinent point about how captains Luke Donald and Zach Johnson will manage fatigue in the locker room over the three days of action, with high temperatures also forecast for the match.

European skipper Donald, for example, will surely be looking to field his big-hitters Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland as much as possible, but four matches leaves the risk of players becoming jaded before Sunday singles.

Donald’s team, meanwhile, are preparing the course to punish inaccuracy up with tight fairways lined with thick rough, while slow greens are also expected in comparison to what the American players are accustomed to out on the PGA Tour.

But Cowen does not see how the setup will favour the home side, and would have preferred a return to the French capital where Europe last tasted success in this contest in 2018.

“None, none at all,” he replied when asked about the possibility of a European edge. “They’d have been better taking it to Le Paris National where we had an advantage.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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