5 questions with young European star Matteo Manassero

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Matteo Manassero will play alongside Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan on Thursday at 9:23 a.m. EDT. The young European star stopped by the media center on Wednesday, and had this preview of what he sees in front of him at Muirfield:

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You've been a good player for a long time now, but how much of a boost was winning a tournament the size of (the European Tour's BMW) PGA Championship this year?

A huge one. It was almost a Major field. We were missing the Americans, but all the Europeans were there. And it means a lot, that event, for us. And it means a lot for everybody, for every player that was there. It's a big tournament for us and we care a lot about us. Winning that one gives me, in myself, in my game, it gives me a lot of confidence for Majors, more than anything else.

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As a follow-up, this is a course which requires a lot of accuracy. This aspect probably plays into your great strengths. Is it a course that suits your eye?

I like it. Suits my eye for sure, and my game, too. I guess, pretty much everybody is going to hit it in the same spot apart from a few holes, which you can hit driver, so longer hitters are going to hit it longer, obviously. But all the rest of the holes it's like 6-iron for a long hitter, 4-iron for me. So we're all in the same position. And then playing on for there. So for sure that could be an important part of this week for me. And accuracy certainly is the main thing in Muirfield

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You've played a lot of links courses in the UK, have you ever played on a harder course than this, as far as fairways?

Not that I remember, really, no. I actually was thinking about it, definitely since I turned pro, never played on a course as hard as this. So that's almost four years. And I think Turnberry, from my memories, was very firm, but probably wasn't as firm as this. So very few times I've played in a course as hard as this, but I guess everybody in the field.

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Are you anywhere near a Ferrari yet? (After question about Manassero driving a small car)

No, nowhere near. I guess the lifestyle is what you make of your life, you know. So I get to do so many great things, and I get the crowd to cheer me many times. And you're going places like Wentworth and there's 20,000 people watching you, that's definitely not a normal lifestyle. So that's a part of my life. But whatever I can choose, I choose to do it normally. And that's my lifestyle. It's not that I choose a small car, I act to choose a small car, but I'm not going to go anywhere near a Ferrari.

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We've had what you did in your teenage years, and Jordan Spieth from America at age 19 we've had 20-year-olds get their card. A 14-year-old play in the Masters. At what point are we getting at a stage, what age does someone have to be before someone says, 'Wow, this guy is really young?'

That's a good question. I think definitely 14 was, wow, that's very young. So we can set that. And we can set it there. 15 would be still, wow, that was very young. And when I was 16 at the Masters, that was, wow, he's very young. So I think 16, it's very young. But it all depends on what you do with that. Obviously you can end up in The Masters at 14. But when you make the cut and you play like (Guan Tianlang) did, that shows so much. Even at 14 years old he can do what he did, being so focused and so well prepared and very methodical. It was incredible for his age. Definitely that's just a number. He's not that age, you know what I mean? He was 14, but he didn't act for sure like a 14-year-old. So there are guys they actually are at that age but they're forward.

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