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Sky the limit for Matteo Manassero

May 29, 2013

Two of Abu Dhabi's leading golf figures have predicted Italian sensation, Matteo Manassero, the emirate's global golf ambassador, will roar into the sport's upper echelons following his dramatic, sudden-death, play-off win at the BMW PGA Championship - the 20-year-old's fourth European PGA Tour victory.

Having coolly edged out England's Simon Khan and Scotland's Marc Warren to become the BMW PGA Championship's youngest-ever winner, Manassero has secured automatic qualification for next month's US Open and The Open Championship, risen to a career-high 30 in the Official World Golf Rankings, jumped to the top of the Race to Dubai standings and earned a five-year European PGA Tour exemption.

"Matteo is mature beyond his years and he has such a strong head on his shoulders," said Chris Card, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. "He's got a good team around him and he knows what's important - he doesn't get caught up with what's going on in the periphery. The sky really is the limit for him.

"You could see from his demeanour in the play-off that he was extremely focussed and dominating the moment. He has the mental capacity and fortitude to go a long, long way in the game and it wouldn't surprise me if we are talking about him reaching another major milestone within the next year. I would certainly put him in the Rory McIlroy bracket in terms of what he can do in the game; there are no limitations on this young man."

With the 'Golf in Abu Dhabi' brand - a one-stop sales and marketing initiative designed to increase the emirate's penetration of the global golf tourism segment - emblazoned on the Italian's cap as part of his global ambassadorial deal with Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), Manassero's Wentworth success comes o n-the-back of the UAE capital's trio of world-class, championship-ready golf courses hosting a record number of overseas rounds between January and March. Card insisted the likeable star is playing his part.

"He's very genuine and he cares about Abu Dhabi - we see that every time he comes here. He calls the emirate his second home and always asks the right questions - he cares about the growth of golf here and how our clubs and resorts are performing. It's obvious he wants to be kept up-to-date so he can do his bit when he travels around the world. We have a great relationship with Matteo because we collectively recognise him as a confident, cool, genuine young man - it's great to see him fulfilling his potential and underlining Abu Dhabi's standing on the global golf map."

Chris White, General Manager of Yas Links Golf Club, believes the inspirational Italian's form, age and appeal provide additional benefits to the destination beyond the tens of millions of international golf fans - and potential golf tourists - who watched the hotshot's history-making Wentworth display on TV screens the world-over.

"When you're around Matteo you tend to forget that he is still only 20; he seems to have been a Tour fixture for such a long time already," said White. "It's fantastic to see a player from Italy, a relatively young golf nation, having such a tremendous impact on the global stage - it bodes well for Abu Dhabi and our efforts to get more young players engaged with the game.

"From this perspective, Matteo is the perfect role model for Emirati youngsters. Not only does he work tremendously hard, he really has to plot his way around the course in terms of ball positioning, shot and club selection because he isn't the longest hitter. His win on a Wentworth course that was one of the longest on the Tour this year, is proof that thinking your way around the course is still the best way to tame it. Matteo's success is good for everyone in Abu Dhabi - local players, courses, international tourists, youngsters, everyone."

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