'Next Seve' signs off as amateur with a flourish - Golf - Sport - The Independent

'Next Seve' signs off as amateur with a flourish

Manassero heralded as future champion after winning Silver Cup at the Masters

When Lee Westwood and Matteo Manassero walked off the 18th green together on Friday evening, one was leading the Masters but the other had already booked a place at last night's Butler Cabin presentation ceremony. While Westwood still had a full weekend's work ahead of him in an attempt to fulfil the reunion, by making the cut Manassero was guaranteed the Silver Cup as the leading amateur.

Manassero, at 16 the youngest ever Masters participant, was the only one of six amateurs to play all four rounds this year and the only one of four teenagers in the field to progress. His talent, as well as the dashing good looks and a natural charisma, have attracted many admirers this week. A certain amount of swooning has been going on in the gallery. "He has the most beautiful arm swing I have ever seen," said three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo.

Yesterday was the last time he will wear his favourite Azzurri blue shirt of the Italian Golf Federation. After this he will be on his own. He will turn professional on his 17th birthday and make his debut on the European Tour at his home Italian Open next month.

Already Manassero has been called the "next Seve". Seve Ballesteros is his hero, along with Costantino Rocca, and if anyone can make Italians fall in love with golf, or at least take an interest when the football is not on, it is this undoubted prodigy.

He started golf at the age of three after his mother discovered that watching the sport on television was the only way she could get the toddler to eat anything. Last summer he became the youngest winner of the British Amateur Championship and finished 13th at the Open at Turnberry. Tom Watson became a fan after playing two rounds with the Italian. Watson, like so many others in the game, just think Manassero "has it".

Where Seve was wild and thrilling however, Manassero is steady and consistent, not the longest but yesterday he was never going to catch bomber Dustin Johnson off the tee. But he showed on the back nine on Friday with a number of vital saves that he can scramble when it matters and his best attribute is a good golfing head. Tiger Woods could certainly learn something about combining passion and decorum from a player less than half his age.

Alberto Binaghi, the former Italian tour player who is Manassero's coach and caddie, says he is not turning professional for the glory but is ready to work his socks off for the next 20 to 25 years. It is thought the International Management Group will be guiding his career, with a signing-on fee rumoured to be in seven figures.

Manassero will continue his schooling remotely while on tour but his parents agree that he is ready for pro life. His father Roberto says his age is not a problem. "What's important is that he's tranquil," he added. "Matteo is not a self-absorbed person. I see with all the attention he's getting at tournaments, he's still the same Matteo."

Asked this week in an interview why he did not use an interpreter, Manassero replied: "Because I speak English." Simple, really.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent