Matteo Manassero (Getty Images)
Matteo Manassero praised the huge galleries at Wentworth Club after winning the BMW PGA Championship in front of packed galleries of 26,412.
Over 100,000 spectators descended on the Surrey venue during the week - that despite inclement weather on Thursday and Friday – and the 20 year old Italian admitted that such swathes of support helped make the tournament particularly special.
“I think The European Tour does an amazing job for us in general, week after week, but George [O’Grady] and The European Tour puts an extra effort into this event,” said Manassero, who beat Simon Khan and Marc Warren in a play-off after all three had finished ten under par for the week.
“You saw how unbelievable this tournament is and what a major feeling it has. I think there has to be thanks to George, The European Tour and BMW for being such a great sponsor. So first of all, I want to thank them.
“I feel extremely happy, extremely happy, because this place has always had a real special feeling to me.
“Obviously Lee [Westwood] had the most support at the beginning, but I had so much - the crowd in general this week has been unbelievable, really.
“I think the weekend that they got to see was a reward for the people that were here Friday with that weather to watch. I was there Friday afternoon, and I had people following me. There were a lot of people watching under those circumstances with that weather, so they got rewarded by this weekend.
“They helped me out a lot on the weekend, and in the play-off, I had so many people shouting my name and supporting me. That's important; not that you really think about it when you're playing, but if you look back at it.
“They were looking for some good golf, and that's because here, they really understand what golf is about. They don't really care if it's English or British or European or whatever. They just look for some fun, and that's what makes it special.
“We are very complete players on The European Tour because we travel so much. We are used to it because we need to do that. I'm going to play Sweden next week, so that says that I want to keep going on The European Tour.”
The victory sees Manassero qualify for the US Open and also takes him top of The Race to Dubai.
After receiving his fourth European Tour trophy, Manassero admitted he was delighted to be joining some illustrious company.
“The players that stand out are two in particular: Seve [Ballesteros] and Costantino [Rocca],” he added.
“Costantino was the first Italian guy that won on the European PGA, and Seve has always been my idol, and he had a lot of success here. So those stand out because adding my name to the Trophy where they are, it means a lot for me.”