Matteo Manassero: The future of Italian golf

Matteo Manassero: The future of Italian golf
By Euronews
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Matteo Manassero is a 19 year-old golfer from Verona, Italy and the youngest ever winner of a European Tour Open. In 2010, he won the Castelló Masters in Spain aged just 17 and since then has been crowned Rookie of the Year on the PGA European Tour and gone on to notch up his second European Tour trophy by winning the Malaysian Open.

The Italian prodigy regularly takes part in the Grand Slam of Golf and despite occasionally playing in the PGA Tour, can more often than not be found on the European Tour. He’s been named as the new ‘Tiger Woods’, however this has not been his greatest season to date. Nevertheless, Manassero has a bright future ahead of him and is determined to achieve his goals.

Claudia Garcia met him as he practiced on a golf course in Turin, Italy.

Euronews: “Matteo Manassero, let’s talk about the battle between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, a rivalry that has everybody captivated. Are you also following their progress on the tour?”

Matteo Manassero: “Of course, I’ve been watching every tournament. They are fierce competitors. Rory is playing exceptionally well, and as we know he is the current number one. Tiger Woods has also been performing at his best, which means that we’re seeing a great battle take place between both of them.”

E: “Who do you think will be more influential in the Ryder Cup, McIlroy for Europe or Woods for the United States?”

M: “Rory would be fundamental for the European Team. He is a real star, and the Ryder Cup is never easy. If he reaches all of his potential, he could be very successful. Tiger is Tiger, and it’ll be difficult to beat him in Medinah even if his record in the Ryder Cup has not been that good… Rory is absolutely necessary for Europe.”

E: “Tiger Woods is back performing at his best. He is playing golf at the highest level once again, which is what his supporters expect from him. Have you had a chance to speak with Tiger about that change?”

M: “No, we’ve met many times, but I don’t know him very well. But he’s very strong, he’s playing very well once again and has won three Opens, so it’s fantastic. He is not as effective as he used to be and in the last Majors he missed out on some points, which has never happened to him before. However, I think the competition is tougher now than before.”

E: “A golf prodigy is what is now associated with the name Manassero. You are young, and have already won many trophies, but you remain in the shadow of Rory McIlroy, as he is the current star. There is a difference of 4 years between both of you, which is not that much in golfing terms. Do you agree?”

M: “Yes, you’re right. Four years is not that much, but certainly Rory is an exceptional player and deserves to be the number one in the world. I don’t even compare to his style and consistency. They are completely different, but I hope to one day face him in a very important tournament.”

E: “The Ryder Cup is fast approaching. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each team?”

M: “I know the golf course well and I think it’s favourable for the European team. Colsearts could be a surprise…He’s playing really well at the moment and McIlroy will bring a lot of strength to the team. He’s the best and could win important points for the team. The American’s strongest players are Tiger Woods and Buba Watson. It is more difficult to face them as they have more supporters. In the United States, they are a lot more passionate and enthusiastic. It’s difficult to speak about weaknesses, because in the Ryder Cup, strong players can become a problem. For example, if Olazabal – the European team captain – decides to put McIlroy on the green four different times and McIlroy gets only one point, he will be a weakness for the team.”

E: “When will we see Manassero in the Ryder Cup?”

M: “In 2014, I hope.”

E: “Now, you are playing mainly in the European Tour, when do you think you will go to the PGA Tour?”

M: “I haven’t decided yet. The PGA Tour is more exciting because of the European crisis. The European Tour is going through a tough financial time, but I still like to be here, I enjoy myself a lot. I have a lot of friends and my intention for the time being is to stay here.”

E: “Who is your idol?”

M: “It always has been Severiano Ballesteros. The reasons are his charisma, his personality and his style on the green. It was very effective but also unique. Since I was a child, Ballesteros has always excited me.”

E: “What are your strengths and weaknesses as a golfer?”

M: “I never give up, I’m very determined, but I’m also a little bit stubborn sometimes, in the sense that I don’t change certain aspects of my game.”

E: “Which tournament are you aiming to win in the coming years?”

M: “The Masters.”

E: “How about the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro?”

M: “There are still four years to go but I want to be an Olympic Champion. It’s one of my main goals.”

E: “What does a 19-year-old do with €3 million? That is the amount that you have earned over the past two and a half years.”

M: “What have with the money? I haven’t bought anything special. I’ve been on several holidays, but mainly I’ve been working hard with the aim of improving my game. This is my main focus.”

E: “Have you not bought anything extravagant?”

M: “No, I’ve not spent a lot. I bought a car, but that’s it.”

E: “Can you name three things that people really should know about golf?”

M: “The players names, the rules and behaviour on the green.”

E: “Why the behaviour?”

M: “It is necessary to know how to behave on the golf course.”

E: “What are the three clichés about golf?”

M: “It’s a sport for old people, it’s too expensive, and not very tiring.”

E: “Give me three reasons why people should follow your career?”

E: “I have many years ahead of me. I want to play at my best and win many tournaments. The third reason is up to my supporters.”

M: “Why do golfers never take their cap off?”

E: “Why? Because, it is the best place for a sponsor to advertise.”

M: “Do you take your cap off sometimes?”

E: “Sometimes, I take it off as soon as I leave the golf course.”

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