Matteo Manassero, the European Tour’s reigning Rookie of the Year and an official Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) golfing ambassador, has congratulated the emirate’s leading courses and institutions on efforts to continue prioritising the game at the grass roots level.
Ahead of his second Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship which started yesterday (January 20th), Manassero played the 18th hole of the stunning National Course, while watched by dozens of junior golfers from Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s ‘Future Falcons’ programme.
“The age of top professionals is decreasing all the time, so it is more important than ever to develop golfers of all abilities from younger ages,” said Manassero. “The Future Falcons initiative is proof that successful programmes are helping nurture tomorrow’s talent. Initiatives like this are key to producing home-grown players and it is great to see Abu Dhabi taking the initiative and embracing junior golf.”
Having become the youngest-ever player to make the halfway cut – in his final event as an amateur – at the US Masters last April, dynamic Manassero, who hails from Verona, set another record last October when victory in the 2010 Castello Masters Costa Azahar made him the European Tour’s youngest-ever winner.
Part of an exciting crop of Italian talent that is flourishing on golf’s premier stage, the 17-year-old appears destined to hog global sporting headlines again in 2011 – his first full professional season.
With Manassero the latest, destination-endorsing member of its global sporting family, ADTA has identified the emerging Italian talent as a role model to drive forward the emirate’s international golfing credentials and encourage national Emirati youth to take up the sport.
“Matteo has captured the imagination of the golfing world, both with his special talent and youthful charisma. He, like Abu Dhabi, has a strong and promising future in the golfing world. Matteo epitomises the game’s youth movement, is a champion of the sport globally and an inspiration to up-and-coming athletes. He demonstrates that anything is possible through unwavering determination and commitment,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager, ADTA.
And it is Manassero’s immeasurable potential which ADTA, via its ‘Future Falcons’ initiative, has displayed to aspiring young golfers on the eve of the capital’s European Tour showpiece.
“The Future Falcons initiative has been founded on ADTA’s desire to develop golf in schools with local and international juniors. Supported by Tourism Development & Investment Company – Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s ownership group, this programme is complimentary and available to all. Our Future Falcons are a key part of Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s strategy in growing the game of golf in the emirate,” said Ken Kosak, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
The sixth Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, running at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 20-23, has the events strongest-ever field, with all four reigning Major winners, plus world number one Lee Westwood, taking to an upgraded National Course.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club www.abudhabigolfclub.com