Bill Elliott talks about why he likes Matteo Manassero and what he thinks the Italian can do in this Open 2014

Open 2014 – Bill Elliott Blog

It’s easy to like Matteo Manassero. Young, gifted and Italian it would not be a surprise if he turned out to be the sort of arrogant young golfer only too familiar on the world’s fairways. Not Matteo.

Despite a shedload of success so far he is a polite, intelligent and considered 21 years old. Since winning the BMWPGA Championship last year he has not quite lived up to his own hype. In this first round, however, he was back to his rhythmic, strategically -smart best.

He puts this down to two things…better preparation and then even more preparation.

He says that in the past he has come into the Open lacking form. What his sub-text suggested was that he did not pay sufficient attention to the task ahead and then properly prepare for it.

“I usually don’t have form at this time of year, ” he admitted. What he seems to have learned is that the more and better a man prepares for the task ahead, the better he usually plays. Form is the result of confidence and confidence is the result of knowing you have checked everythjing over twice and given yourself the best possible chance of success.

It’s why Matteo entered the Scottish Open last week. He needed to feel links golf, never mind play it. What happened at Aberdeen of course was that he played well enough to finish fourth. The other thing that happened up there was that he ignited that part of his brain called ‘imagination’ and it is this creative energy that he unleashed in this first round.

“Last week was just the best preparation I could have had, ” he grinned. “We had strong wind, little wind and tghen no wind. We eveb had different directions of wind. And the course was firm, it was really linksy and so I was really thinking links golf when I got here and that was so important for me.”

What was also important for him was that countrymen Francesco and Eduardo Molinari are right up that leaderboard with him. This means, he says, that at least one of them should still be in contention come Sunday. “That would be fantastic for Italy and the game there.” Somehow I think this final contender will be young, nice and very, very talented. Hope so anyway.