07 Apr 2020

Where are they now: Matteo Manassero

As Matteo Manassero paraded the trophy after winning one of the biggest titles in the game at the 2013 BMW PGA Championship, the whispers about future Major triumphs and Ryder Cup appearances intensified.

That win at Wentworth was his fourth European Tour title before the age of 20.

But there has been little to celebrate since, and his decline has been shocking to those that witnessed his meteoric rise.

Once labeled by some commentators as, ‘Europe’s next Seve Ballesteros’ thanks to his combination of nerveless talent, youthful exuberance and infectious smile, Manassero found himself at Qualifying School in 2018 and 2019 and both times failed to get past the four-round cut.

For a player who had made the cut at The Open and The Masters as a teenager – winning low amateur honours at both – and won his first European Tour title at the age of 17 and 188 days at the Castello Masters in 2010, the golfing world appeared to be at his feet.

Matteo Manassero accepts the trophy at the 2013 BMW PGA Championship from former European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady.

He won a second title before he was 18 – earlier than both Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia achieved the same feat – but his gradual fall from grace since his Wentworth victory has seen him eventually lose his European Tour status.

In 2014, he could only manage two top tens as The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles came and went.

Things got worse

The following year things got worse as he only made five cuts in 22 starts, falling to 167th in the Race to Dubai.

A second round 81 at the Irish Open was the start of 15 consecutive missed cuts.

He managed one top ten in 2016 – third place at the Hero Indian Open – and in 2018 after finishing 122nd in the rankings he found himself out of exemptions and at Qualifying School trying to forge a path back to the Tour.

Sponsors Invites

A card failed to materialise, but he did manage to make 18 starts last year on the back of sponsors’ invites and his status as a former winner of the BMW PGA Championship.

He made just two cuts and was again at Q-School trying to fight his way back to the promised land only to finish 151st out of 153 players.

With no status on Tour this year his last tweet came in late January, confirming he was working with coach James Ridyard and said things are, ‘moving forward nicely, step by step without rushing’.

Still only 26, he has a lot of time to right the ship. Here’s hoping we get to see that big beaming smile back on the European Tour soon.

 

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