3, Ireland’s largest high speed network, and The European Tour have today announced that Matteo Manassero will play at this year’s 3 Irish Open, when the tournament returns to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club from 29th July to 1st August.


Matteo Manassero may not haven born the last time the 3 Irish Open was played in Killarney, but he is fully aware of who lifted the trophy.


The 17 year old Italian prodigy, who has taken the golfing world by storm in the last year as the leading amateur at The Open Championship and the Masters Tournament, would love to emulate Sir Nick Faldo’s 3 Irish Open success at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club over from July 29 – August 1.


“I know Faldo won the 3 Irish Open at Killarney in 1991 and 1992 but I wasn’t born at the time so it’s difficult for me to remember!” said Manassero.


“One of the main reasons I will play in Ireland is because I have been told that the golf course will suit my game. I know that Faldo won in Killarney for two years in a row, and that you have to be straight and be able to control the ball to play well there.


“I know that it can be windy there too and that is another one of my strengths, to play in the wind. My game is suited to that so hopefully I have made the right decision to play in Ireland.”


The 3 Irish Open will be the fifth of the seven invitations Manassero is entitled to on The European Tour, as he bids to become the youngest Affiliate Member in The Tour’s history to win his card.


The current holder of that honour is Sergio Garcia, who, aged 19, won the 1999 Irish Open and launched a spectacular career that has seen him become one of the game’s biggest stars.  Rory McIlroy was another stand-out Affiliate Member in 2007, winning his place on The European Tour with a memorable third place at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.


“The goal is to do what guys like Sergio and Rory have done and get my card in the space of the seven events,” said Manassero. “It will be very difficult because there are so many good players on Tour but I hope I can play very well in one of the tournaments because I will need a big finish to do it.”


Robert Finnegan, CEO of 3, said; “We are delighted to be able to announce that Matteo Manassero will be playing at this year’s 3 Irish Open.  Matteo is one of the most exciting talents in world golf and has been for quite some time.  His performance at the Masters was superb and belied his age and experience.  To be able to see Matteo play alongside the likes of Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell in Killarney at the 3 Irish Open will be fantastic and he is sure to put on a great show for everyone there.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club over the August Bank holiday weekend. ”


Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of Fáilte Ireland, said: “On behalf of Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, we are delighted see that Matteo Manassero, one of golf’s newest stars, has accepted an invitation to play in the 3 Irish Open at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club. Golf in Ireland is a key tourism attraction and to be able to attract an exceptionally talented young player who is currently one of the highest profile players in the world to the 3 Irish Open is a great indication of Ireland’s international appeal.”


Maurice O’Meara, General Manager of the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, said: “Killarney Golf & Fishing Club are looking forward to welcoming Matteo Manassero to the 3 Irish Open later this month. Matteo at his age has already achieved so much on the world stage of golf. It will be fantastic to see Matteo compete against other young players such as Rory McIlory. We are sure Mateo will have a memorable week in Killarney.”


George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Matteo Manassero is one of the most impressive young players that Europe has produced for a long time. His performances at last year’s Open Championship and the Masters back in April have made him one of the most in-demand and exciting players in the world, and he will be a tremendous addition to the 3 Irish Open.”


Manassero will join Irish Major winners Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington, along with Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, at the 3 Irish Open. Fans hoping to see the young Italian in action can still purchase discounted tickets to the 3 Irish Open, which are available at all 3Stores,  at www.europeantour.com/tickets and at www.ticketmaster.ie as well as through Ticketmaster booths across Ireland.