The Open: Manassero understands need for speed

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With the average club competitive round taking about four hours, golf authorities could do worse than focus attention on this week’s Open bid at Muirfield by a young Italian.

Matteo Manassero is widely regarded as one of the fastest players on tour and as a four-time winner by the age of 20 and Open silver medallist as leading amateur four years ago it hasn’t done the speedy Italian any harm.

So, an icon for the modern age and antidote to Chinese 14-year-old Tianlang Guan who, for all his prodigious talent in playing the recent US Masters, was penalised for slow play? The good news is that Manassero seems comfortable putting his foot on the accelerator and talking up its beneficial effects.

“I was extremely fast four or five years ago and now I got a little slower. If you start like that – it’s a good talent. It’s important,” he says while acknowledging that compatriot Renato Paratore is even quicker.

Not only will Manassero be bidding for the Claret Jug, but also building up to staking a claim for a Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles next year.

Manassero says: “For sure it’s on my mind. I want to qualify for Gleneagles and from September it’s going to be as race between many great players.”

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