Throughout the history of sport, there always been prodigies, "the next big thing", and the "future of the sport". Some of these sportsmen and women live up to the expectation set upon them at a young age, but many others slowly fade away.
Golf was brought to prominence by the emergence of Tiger Woods back in the late 1990s and has been expanding as a sport ever since. Some players have been labelled as future rivals to Tiger are looked up as some of the other biggest names in the sport. David Duval comes to mind as someone who fell from grace. Duval was once the world number one, but after his Open Championship win in 2001 he went on a downward spiral.
Another player who should be on the same level as Tiger Woods is Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who has yet to win a major championship, despite having an immense amount of talent.
However, there are examples of younger talent emerging to face Tiger and his impressive credentials. Players such as Northern Ireland sensation, Rory McIlroy, and the German, Martin Kaymer, have made an impression on a world stage and look likely to dominate majors over the next decade.
The brightest star out there right now, however, may be 17 year old Italian Matteo Manassero. He as just replaced golf legend Steve Ballesteros' record for being the youngest ever winner on the European Tour.
Manassero won the Castello Masters in Valencia by four shots, leaving him 16 under par for the tournament. The young Italian showed maturity beyond his years by scoring three birdies on the back nine, resulting in a final day round of 67.
The Former British Amateur Champion had shot the course record on Saturday with a round of 63.
It is clear from recent performances and this recent win that the future is bright for the young European – or will he fade away?
In my opinion, I think both he and McIlroy will be leading all four of the Major Championships in the near future, along with the usual suspects. The accolades from former professionals, as well as many on tour at the moment, are piuling up and the critics are predicting a bright future.
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