Italy’s rising golf superstar, Matteo Manassero, has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (voted “World’s Leading Tourism Board” at the 2010 World Travel Awards), to act as a global golf ambassador for the emirate.
“Abu Dhabi will now be like a second home for me. I was very fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to compete in the 2010 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, and the welcome I received was incredible. I look forward to returning and hopefully putting in a great performance for my fans,” said Manassero, who recently became the youngest full European Tour member, snatching the record from golfing legend, Seve Ballesteros, who held the title since 1974.
“I know there is a big Italian community in Abu Dhabi, so it will be great to have them out to cheer me on. With what is likely to be one of the most competitive fields of any event this year, I’ll need all the support I can get if I hope to lift the Falcon Trophy.”
The dynamic 17-year-old from Verona burst onto the global golfing scene at the 2009 Open Championship where, playing with Sergio Garcia and veteran Tom Watson, he made the cut and won the silver medal as leading amateur, the youngest player in 60 years to do so.
In April this year, Manassero followed up his heroics with a historic performance at The Masters, when he became both the youngest player to compete in the tournament and the youngest to make the cut. A final hole birdie assured him a tied 36 finish, and set him on a path to maiden professional honours.
And the young Italian recently finished runner-up by one-stroke to Abu Dhabi gallery favourite, Ian Poulter, at November’s Hong Kong Open, carding an impressive final round 62, eight-under-par on his way to a 21-under performance overall.
ADTA, which initiated the championship in 2006, believes Manassero’s addition to its global sporting family is important in driving forward the emirate’s international golfing credentials and encouraging national youth uptake of the sport.
“Matteo has captured the imagination of the golfing world, both with his special talent and youthful charisma. He, like Abu Dhabi, has a strong and promising future in the golfing world. Matteo epitomises the game’s youth movement, is a champion of the sport globally, and an inspiration to up-and-coming athletes, showing that through unwavering determination and commitment anything is possible,” said His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA.
Manassero will have his work cut out for him at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2011, with organisers committed to attracting at least five of the world’s Top Ten players.
To date, all four current Major winners are signed-up to contest the Falcon Trophy in January. South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, the (British) Open Champion, and Ulster’s US Open winner, Graeme McDowell will vie with previously confirmed Phil Mickelson, the defending US Masters Champion, and Martin Kaymer, a two-time Abu Dhabi winner, world number three and US PGA Champion, at Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National Course.
They also join Lee Westwood, who knocked long-term number one Tiger Woods off the top spot in October, and England’s Paul Casey, himself a double Abu Dhabi victor and world number seven.
Committed to delivering the event’s most competitive field to date, ADTA has also confirmed it will announce more major additions to its star-studded January line-up.
ADTA is also looking to attract the championship’s biggest ever spectator turnout and is planning a significantly enhanced Championship Village, boasting more restaurants, attractions, entertainment and spectator viewing opportunities.