Teenage golf prodigy Matteo Manassero could not wait to take on Bethesda’s famous Congressional Country Club Course where he will make his debut at the US Open next month.
The 18-year old Manassero occupies the Top 33 spot in the world rankings but he has to remain in the Top 50 up to the end of May to ensure his place in the year’s second major.
“I’m really looking forward to playing one of the world’s most famous courses,” Told Reuters on the eve of the Spanish Open. The Italian teenager has won the European Tour twice.
“I don’t know anything about the Congressional, except I know the rough will be long, but tough courses suit my game and I’m excited about making my debut.”
The Blue course at Congressional will be the venue of the June 16-19 US Open for the third time. This was the venue of the most recent edition in 1997 when South African Ernie Els won.
Manassero’s victory at the Castello Masters in Spain last year when he was still 17 years old made him the youngest European Tour winner. He was also named Europe’s 2010 Rookie of the Year and proved he deserved the title by landing last month’s Malaysian Open crown in Kuala Lumpur.
Manassero is however concerned about a possible backlash saying “My wins have happened very soon which is nice because I can now go on and achieve more.”
“(But) I do wonder if it has all come too soon because now everybody expects me to win when I still have a lot to learn.
“There will be bad times but I’m sure I’ll be able to handle it especially as I have a good team around me.”
This week’s competition will be the first for Manassero since his victory in Malaysia. Fans however find him very inspiring as he tries to meet the demands of the tour even as he is trying to complete his formal education.
“It’s not easy to combine the two but I try,” he said. “I want to finish my studies so I travel with my books and do my exams.”
And while the Ryder Cup near Chicago is still next year, it is already in his thoughts.
“The Ryder Cup is far away … (but) obviously it’s on my mind,” he explained.
“My present goal is to make the top 10 in the Race to Dubai,” Manassero said. He is now Number 13 in the money-list of Europe.