At 16, Matteo Manassero will become the youngest player in Masters history

At 16, Matteo Manassero will become the youngest player in Masters history

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Matteo Manassero won the 2009 British Amateur.
Alastair Grant/AP

Your 2009 British Amateur victory earned you your first Masters invitation. Can you win at Augusta?

My only goal is to have fun, to have a wonderful experience. I’ve been there once, and it’s true what they say — there’s no other place in the world like it, especially that drive down Magnolia Lane. But no matter what I shoot, it’s going to be an amazing week.

You tied for 13th at the 2009 British Open and played the first two rounds with Tom Watson. Describe the week.

It was…wow! Everything went right. It was simply the best week of my life. A highlight was when we both made our [birdie] putts on No. 16 [on Friday]. He gave me a high-five. That was special, playing with him. I was part of history.

You had to be pulling for him on the 72nd hole, when he made bogey, which cost him the Claret Jug.

I was rooting so hard. What a shame. But after, he said something to me. He had just lost the playoff, but he said to me, “You will be here again. You will be back.” That meant a lot.

Soccer is king in Italy, but could you help make golf a close second?

It’s getting bigger. I would love to help the game grow in my country. I would love to play in the Olympics for Italy. The only way I know how to help [the cause] is to play my best. Football [soccer] will always be No. 1, but maybe one day golf will be right up there.