Hard work paying dividends for Italian Golf Federation

16/07/2012 14:07:14
Francesco Molinari  (Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari (Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari made it another fine weekend for Italian golf with his runner-up finish in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, a week after coming second in the Alstom Open de France.

The 29 year, currently second in the Race to Dubai, is flying the flag for the Mediterranean nation at present, and a number of his compatriots are not far behind.

Matteo Manassero, still only 19, has already had five top ten finishes this season to sit 36th in The Race to Dubai, and Lorenzo Gagli, Andrea Pavan and Federico Colombo are all forging promising careers at golf’s highest level, having risen through the ranks of the Challenge Tour.

Much of Italy’s success in recent years, highlighted by Edoardo and Francesco Molinari winning the Mission Hills World Cup in 2009 and representing Europe in The 2010 Ryder Cup, is down to the hard work put in by the Italian Golf Federation at amateur and grass-roots level.

Of course, no one can guarantee that an excellent young amateur player will make a successful professional, but the IGF’s investment in development and the staging of tournaments gives young prospects the best chance.

Under the Italian Pro Tour banner, there are four Italian events on the Challenge Tour this season, five on the Alps Tour and one on The European Tour – the BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi.

Alessandro Rogato, Director of the Italian Pro Tour, said: “The main goal of the Italian Golf Federation is to help the young professionals and give them the opportunities to play. We want to give strong support and a good level of organisation.

“Our logistics are the same on the Alps Tour and the Challenge Tour and The European Tour. It doesn’t matter what level it is, we try to give the players the best organisation we can.

“For those players who don’t have a great category, we have a campaign to help them get the chance to play through invitations.

“Of course, the success of the Molinaris and Matteo have inspired others. Manassero in particular, because he has played in all the big tournaments on The European Tour and won twice  before he had even turned 18. Others look at him and they think if he can do it so can they. It gives them confidence and the belief they can fulfil their dream.

“Over the last six or seven years I have seen a big change in the professionalism of the young players. They are training harder, paying more attention to fitness and nutrition and they work hard all through the winter.”