WENTWORTH, United Kingdom: A new slim line Matteo Manassero targeted next year’s Ryder Cup after landing the biggest title of his career in the European PGA Championship here at Wentworth on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
The Italian shed seven kilograms of weight during a fitness push in the off-season when he cut out the carbohydrates and pushed weights in the gym.
It paid off as the 20-year is fitter and survived a four-hole play-off at Wentworth beating Simon Khan to the title and playing himself into the world’s top 50.
Manassero told reporters after becoming the youngest-ever winner of the European Tour’s flagship event: “I feel like the work has paid off. Everybody asks me have I been sick?
“I did quite a lot of cardio training and when I started to play again I stopped the diet and worked to get some muscle.
“When you slim down, you slim down a bit of everything but I have stabilized really well and I have felt comfortable all week. I feel much better physically now—it was work that had to be done and I am happy I did it but it didn’t take me long.
“Right now I am just eating normal things—I like to eat so you have got to treat yourself.”
Manassero’s new-found fitness would come in useful in next year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles where he could play 36 holes on the first two days if he makes Paul McGinley’s European team—it also means he has qualified for next month’s US Open.
He has never played in the biennial match but his experience of play-off golf in the professional game and the amount of match play he played as a youngster would stand him in good stead.
Manassero added: “Ryder Cup is different. I have never played it but I have been to one and I could feel it was a different atmosphere.
“It is a bit like a play-off but more like a play-off for a major because everything is so intense.
“I am looking at the next Ryder Cup—I really want to be there. I feel good in match play because I have done well in the Accenture and I played a lot of match play as an amateur.”