Guido Migliozzi won two times in his first season on the European Tour. He sits down with Michael Weston to life on Tour.
Guido Migliozzi Exclusive - "This Is A Brutal Sport"
To borrow a phrase from the world of social media, Guido Migliozzi (opens in new tab) is ‘living his best life’. If you follow the young Italian, you’ll be aware of this. In 2019, he won twice in what was his rookie season on the European Tour.
The 22-year-old is “doing the best job” and doing it rather well. Like most professional sportspeople, he keeps his fans up to date with regular Instagram and Twitter updates; nothing narcissistic, just his scoring, schedule and, more recently, the odd trophy shot.
We can expect more of these, because the man from Vicenza has come a long way in a very short period of time.
In November 2018, Migliozzi claimed the 16th card at Q-School, a six-round grind he describes as a “marathon” and one he’d rather not experience again. He needn’t worry about that for the time being, not given the way he’s playing.
His first victory came in just his 14th European Tour event at the Kenya Open in March, and the other at the Belgian Knockout 11 weeks later. What a start to your tour career. No wonder he’s grinning.
“Obviously it’s been a really good start. It’s been wonderful,” he smiles. It’s an understatement. Some players spend their whole careers on tour without ever tasting victory – and this young chap already has a couple to his name.
Despite this glittering start, however, he still finds himself in awe of the whole professional golf thing, travelling the world playing the game he loves.
“It’s a good feeling. I love everything, all the players, the organisation of the tournaments, and I feel very good,” he says. “I played two years on the Alps Tour and Challenge Tour working on my game, starting from the bottom, and it took a while.
"I was saying in my head, ‘You’re a professional, you have to do everything as a professional player’.
“Those tours are a great learning curve and they are getting stronger and more competitive. I learned so much from the Alps Tour and winning undoubtedly helped me when I took the step on to the European Tour.
"It’s a real job. I went to Q-School and it’s a very tough week, full of pressure. I’m lucky it went well for me. I wanted only to get a tour card. It was really tough but I made it and here I am playing with friends.”
An Incredible Rise
The 22-year-old is riding the crest of a wave. It can be crude to talk about prize money, but rankings and cash are intrinsically linked. In 2018, he earned less than €10,000 in prize money.
A year later, he finished the season having banked nearly €850,000. It’s a vast sum of money, but he’s not about to splash it all on a Maserati. In the summer of 2016, he became Niall Horan’s first signing with management company Modest! Golf.
No one knows more about coping with stardom at such a young age than the One Direction star. In any case, Migliozzi prefers motorbikes.
“Golf humbles you quickly and I must keep working hard to progress and keep moving forward,” he says. “This is a brutal sport. I try and forget about the bad things. I give all I have on the course and I’m really emotional when I play.
"I want every single shot to be very good. I keep the fire inside me. I remember a three-putt bogey on a par 5 I had in Germany. I threw the trophy away and I was burning inside. There are highs and lows. When I have lows, I just put my golf bag away and I don’t play.”
It’s been mostly highs so far. Modest! Golf’s Mark McDonnell has had a front-row seat watching his client’s rapid development over the last three years.
In 2016, he won the Portuguese Amateur Championship and represented his country at The Eisenhower Trophy. Then, after turning professional, he won three times on the Alps Tour in the space of just 12 months.
“We’re proud of all our boys and girls,” says McDonnell. “We’re not the reason guys like Guido are breaking through, but we feel as though we have a small role to play in their development. Guido has shown what can be done with hard work and talent.
"He’s not even in his mid-20s yet, so there’s so much more to come. I think the future is bright for him. Most importantly he’s still the same guy now as he was three years ago. It’s always nice to see when they remain grounded.”
On the importance of having someone like Horan as a mentor, McDonnell adds: “He’s inspirational. He’s experienced growing up in the spotlight, earning a lot of money very quickly and being under scrutiny. He can relate to the players.”
He certainly can, and Migliozzi is clearly a fan. You know you’ve made it when you trade fist-bump emojis on social media with one of the biggest pop stars in the world.
An Unexpected Victory
Turn the clock back the best part of a year and few would have predicted Migliozzi’s victory in Kenya. He arrived in Nairobi having made just two cuts from seven tournaments. He’d missed the cut the week before in Qatar, when he could do no better than a 75.
It meant in 18 rounds, he had broken 70 just twice. However, a lot can change in seven days. The Magical Kenya Open was, well, “magic”.
Migliozzi fired four rounds in the 60s to win by one.
“That win meant a lot and just proved I could win on tour,” he says. “It gave me so much confidence. I was supposed to go back to Italy afterwards, but the win meant I could go to Malaysia.
"So I celebrated on the plane. When I got home I celebrated with all my family and friends and that was pretty good. Then came the second one [win], so that confirmed I was working in the right way.”
New doors have been opening ever since. In November, he recorded his best finish in a Rolex Series event, a tie for tenth at the Turkish Airlines Open.
A week later and he looked set to contend in the Nedbank Golf Challenge before falling away over the weekend. Then, in Dubai, he ended his campaign with a credible share of 16th spot. All the while, he’s been studying the best in the world.
“Playing with the likes of Tommy [Fleetwood] is great and all helps with my learning,” he says. “I also got to play with Justin Rose at the Italian Open."
"These guys are so open and encouraging with the rookies and the younger guys on tour. No doubt I have learned bits from all of them. I really have appreciated how supportive they have been.
“I was lucky to get an opportunity to play with Rory in a practice round at Wentworth. I have to work a hundred times harder to get where I want. It’s good inspiration. His consistency and skill showed me how much more I have to work on in order to get to the very top.”
On the evidence of his rookie campaign, such lofty goals hardly seem overambitious. What about making a Ryder Cup debut on home turf?
“That would be a dream come true. I need to keep pushing and keep working hard. It’s been a wonderful season but I have more work to do. Let’s see what the future brings. I have to be patient and wait for the next page of the book.”
He’ll certainly be fun to watch this season. Give him a follow.
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Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.
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