Thursday, 15 January 2015

What's Happened to Matteo?

The Italian whiz kid, Matteo Manaserro, looked very average and very unhappy today, playing alongside Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler in Abu Dhabi. He hit it short, crooked, and often. It was yet another poor start in what has been a steady descent down the world rankings after reaching the number eleven spot in 2013 when he won the BMW PGA championship at Wentworth for his fourth European Tour win. 

Manaserro has quite the resume. He was the youngest player to win the British Amateur, the youngest player to be the top amateur at the Masters at 16 years 11 months, he won the silver medal as the top amateur at the Open, and very quickly, after turning pro became the youngest to win a European Tour event. He has won four times and he is still only twenty one years old. However, since his great win at Wentworth, he has managed only two top tens in 2014. He has fallen off the radar.

The word is that he has been making swing changes in order to get longer. Once again, we see a top player, in this case a kid with an unbelievable resume, a kid who was surely destined for greatness, who has somehow been convinced, or convinced himself, that he has to make swing changes in order to get more distance. And now, he has, at least temporarily, lost his game. It's a damned shame.

The frightening thing about making swing changes is that, if they make you worse, you sometimes, maybe even often, can't go back. It's happened to some great players in the past, even Manaserro's boyhood idol, Seve Ballasteros. I just hope it hasn't happened to Matteo. I hope he can find his swing. Whether it is a new, improved swing, or the one that brought him such phenomenal success so soon.

I hope he knows what he's doing, but I fear the worst. In golf, as in life, it's better to dance with the one you brung. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it, and always remember, the woods are full of long drivers.