Italian Kid is Youngest European Tour Winner Ever

Earlier this year Matteo Manassero spoke about how journalists... particularly American journalists... had taken to calling him "The Italian Kid".

It was... he declared... a nickname he wore with pride. ~ After all, though his game is that of a far more seasoned player,  Matteo Manassero is only seventeen.

As such,  his win yesterday at the Castelló Masters made him the youngest European Tour winner in history. ~ Matteo's reaction when asked how he'd spend his €333,330 earnings was disarmingly... um...youthful:

"I'm not old enough to drive and I don't have a girlfriend to spend the money on," he said laughing. "So I really have nothing to spend my money on -- but the most important gift for me is the two-year Tour exemption."

In addition, the newly minted champion earned a start in next fortnight's $7m WGC-HSBC Champions event... and the assurance of a place in the season-ending $7.5m Dubai World Championship after moving to 44th on the money list.

Matteo also won the tournament's cute, kissable trophy (above)... though he didn't get nearly so intimate with the whimsical award as Michael Jonzon did last year. (Matteo just kissed the little guy's hand)

Ultimately the Manassero victory is the latest in a year of extraordinary success for Italian golf and it had a number of golf writers asking, "What are they doing right in Italy?"

Early this year I wrote about the Italy's emerging golf excellence, about the Italian Golf Federation's dedication to growing the game,  and particularly about extraordinary coach, Alberto Binaghi who has nurtured the talent and passion of Matteo Manassero from the start. Signore Binaghi has quite a bit to be proud of today.