Sept. 21-26, 2021 Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI
Photo Credit: Matteo Manassero

Despite Europe suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of an American team which included Jordan Spieth, Matteo Manassero still reflects fondly on his experience of playing in the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup. 

Manassero and his team-mates, who included fellow European Tour members Adrian Otaegui and Moritz Lampert, were on the wrong end of a 22-2 score line, but the Italian is clearly a firm believer in the motto that “what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger”.

Thus, Manassero leaned a great deal from the defeat and, eight years on from that chastening experience, the Italian has four European Tour titles to his name.

He recalled: “The Americans had a very strong team including Jordan Spieth, so they ended up beating us quite easily, but I still had a great time. I wasn’t really thinking about making the Junior Ryder Cup team at the start of that year, so it was a bonus just making the team. It was a proud moment, you often play for your country as an amateur but it’s the only chance you get to play for your continent, so it was an amazing experience and I learned a lot.”

Next week’s tenth edition of the Junior Ryder Cup will feature one Italian, and the main advice Manassero would give to Emilie Alba Paltrinieri and her 11 team-mates is to enjoy themselves.  

He said: “I’m sure the guys will have fun, and if they win, lose or draw, they’ll still take away some great memories which they can use in the future. And I’m sure they’ll really enjoy meeting the European team, it’s such a great experience to be part of such a big tournament, and it definitely inspires you to work harder so that one day you too can have the chance to play in The Ryder Cup.”

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