Teen Manassero Easing Himself Into The Pro Life
WRITING FROM EDINBURGH
That Matteo Manassero, the 17-year-
old Italian who won the amateur medal
at this year’s Masters, can be a bit doleful makes him more fun to watch rather
than less. At last week’s Scottish Hydro
Challenge, his first European Challenge
Tour event, he arrived on a rain-speckled
eighth tee at Spey Valley with a loud
sneeze followed by assorted splutters.
“This Scottish weather isn’t doing me any
good,” he muttered.
There are no mobile scoreboards for the
early rounds on the Challenge Tour and, in
the circumstances, it made sense to wait
for a quiet moment to ask his caddie how
he was scoring. As it transpired, he was 5
under. The sun came out for the back nine
but then there was something else for
Matteo to be sad about. The putts weren’t
dropping and he finished at 4 under.
Almost certainly, his mood would not
have been helped by what happened at
Sunningdale at the start of last week.
Though he began the European Final Open
Qualifier with a 64, he had a second-round
71 to miss out by one on this year’s 150th
Anniversary championship at St. Andrews.
As Alberto Binaghi, his coach, would
note, Matteo had been unlucky on two
counts. As recently as 2008, a top- 15 finish
in the Open, which is what Matteo had last
year, would have been enough to guarantee a place in the next instalment. Last
year, though, the number of those winning
automatic berths was cut from 15 to 10.
Like everyone else, R&A personnel will
probably be crossing their fingers that their
2009 Amateur champion gets into the field
at the eleventh hour
by being the leading
player, not otherwise
exempt, in the first
five and ties of either
of the French Open or
the Barclays Scottish
relatively little as against players like Rory
McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa. Where their
schoolteachers turned the proverbial blind
eye to missed lessons, Manassero was allowed no such leeway. His term-time golf
was restricted to weekends and a couple
of afternoons a week. Two other afternoons were devoted to physical fitness.
It doesn’t always follow that more
practice leads to better results but, in
Manassero’s case, there is the feeling that
we have as yet had nothing more than a
glimpse of what is to come.
women’s club, equality apparently has to
apply at every level – playing opportunities, use of clubhouse facilities, the lot.
If Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary
of State, has indeed accepted chairmanship of the Nominating Committee of
the USGA, she is presumably a president
in the making. Presidents of the USGA
are usually made members of the R&A,
though that did not happen in the case of
the first woman to hold that office, Judy
Bell. The latter was given a handsome
piece of jewelry instead.
Will the same apply if and when Rice
achieves the top office?
On the grounds that the R&A would not
want to do something for her that they did
not do for Bell, you would have to assume
that it will. Again, the amended Equal
Opportunities Act, which comes into force
in October, is such that single-sex clubs,
men’s or women’s, have to be what they
say they are.
Once women are through the door in a
men’s club, or men through the door in a
There are plenty of golfers who spend
most of their time under the radar but
the 46-year-old Colin Montgomerie is not
among them. In fact, you have to suspect
that he could not find the necessary wave-
lengths if he tried. The last two weeks has
been typical of how, one way or another,
our Ryder Cup captain is never out of the