by Jeff Skinner
Gary Woodland’s win at the Transitions Championship continues the trend of new faces and younger winners on The PGA Tour in 2011. Another golfer that started his own youth movement in Europe and has continued it on the PGA Tour is Matteo Manassero. Manassero is the seventeen year old Italian who burst onto the world golf scene with his win at the British Amateur as a sixteen year old and then tied for 13th at The Open championship. Last April he was the youngest player ever to make the cut at The Masters at 16 years old and then decided to turn professional.
He became the youngest player ever to win on the European Tour with his victory at The Castello Masters in Spain at 17 years and 188 days. He continues to play with the best golfers in the world and has climbed to 55th in the world golf rankings. He’ll need a good finish this week at The Arnold Palmer Invitational to move into the top fifty in the world and earn a return to The Masters.
So far this season Manassero has played fairly well on the European Tour finishing 37th, 13th and a missed cut. On the PGA Tour he made news when he took down Steve Stricker in the first round of the WGC-Match Play and then eliminated Charl Schwartzel before losing to eventual winner Luke Donald. This week he finished T20 at The Transitions after a brilliant start.
This youngster can play big time golf and isn’t intimidated by the bright spotlight or playing with the world’s best. He appears to be a very mature young man and realizes the opportunities that lay ahead for him. He’s trying to get a little longer off the tee in order to compete with the length of the older, stronger players. His short game is his strength, that and the fact that he is playing with a teenage, nothing to lose attitude. Making a return to Augusta is a big chore this week but he’ll be giving it his all as he lives out his teenage dream.