Francesco Molinari has to pinch himself after incredible year
Being crowned Race to Dubai champion was just the icing on the cake of the most incredible golfing year of Francesco Molinari’s life.
The Italian finished the season as the European No 1 on Sunday after closing with a solid 71 at the DP World Tour Championship. It’s a season that also saw him become a major champion after his victory at the Open, and a Ryder Cup hero after his record-breaking 5-0 performance for Team Europe at Le Golf National.
Quite simply, it’s the stuff dreams are made of, and Molinari is taking none of it for granted.
It’s impossible to sum up the last months in a few words. I can’t wait to sit down and reflect on what I’ve done
Most of it doesn’t seem real yet, but then I see pictures like this and I know it really did happen
(Photo Claudio Scaccini) pic.twitter.com/Qv17KVuGuZ
— Francesco Molinari (@F_Molinari) 18 November 2018
“It’s incredible,” he said. “Now I’m going to have time to sit down and relax and really think back about the last few months.
“This morning on the first tee the announcement is the winner of The Open Championship, Race to Dubai leader, it doesn’t sound real at the moment.
“It’s more than I ever dreamed of achieving. I’ve seen guys that I think are better players than me not winning Majors and not winning Order of Merits or Race to Dubais. To achieve those things in one single season is just incredible.
“We’ve been doing very well this year when it comes to the challenges. I never won a Ryder Cup match and I won five out of five. Carnoustie was really not my favourite place, to say the least, before this year, and I go there and win.”
By a strange twist of fate, Molinari’s main rival for the Race to Dubai title was Tommy Fleetwood, the man with whom he formed a Ryder Cup partnership so successful it was given its own nickname – ‘Moliwood’.
Molinari was quick to pay tribute to Fleetwood, who ultimately came up short in his quest to overhaul him for the crown.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) 18 November 2018
“It’s tough in a way because it would have been probably easier in a way to play against anyone else but Tommy,” he added. “I know how talented he is and I really thought at some point he was going to win it and put me in a tough spot.
“He’s obviously a great guy and a super talented player and I’m sure being younger than me, he’s going to win a few more Race to Dubais.
“It was challenging this week because obviously you try not to, but you are always keeping an eye on what Tommy is doing and I did it very well the first day. I think probably some adrenaline, as well, got me going a little bit more, and just hit a wall the last few holes and never really recovered from that.
“It’s been a very, very long season, travelling across the ocean a lot of times, and playing a lot of tournaments. I can’t wait to sit down and relax and really process what’s happened in the last few months.
“It’s going to take a while to get used to, but I’m looking forward at the same time to next year and I’m sure that there’s more good golf to come from me. Hopefully we will see already next year.”
New Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald motivated by ‘bitter’ memories of 2021 defeat
Stenson was stripped of the role for breaking his contract by joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
The task facing Luke Donald after replacing Henrik Stenson
Stenson was appointed on March 15 and said he was fully committed to a role before signing with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
Tony Finau claims second straight PGA Tour victory
The American won the 3M Open in his previous outing.
Henrik Stenson cushions Ryder Cup blow with £3.6m debut win in LIV Golf
The Swede was stripped of his role as Europe captain after joining the Saudi-backed breakaway tour.
Former Masters champion Bubba Watson becomes latest player to join LIV Golf
The left-hander is currently sidelined by a knee injury and is not expected to play until next season,
Luke Donald tipped to replace Henrik Stenson as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain
The Swede lost the job 127 days after his appointment following his decision to join the LIV Golf series.
Max Homa: Tiger Woods now understands the respect he commands from his peers
Homa has made no secret of his admiration for Woods.
Bernard Gallacher fears Greg Norman is not the man for compromise with LIV Golf
Players who have resigned from the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf will not be eligible for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Brooke Henderson takes two-shot lead into final round of Evian Championship
South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon climbed into outright second place on 15 under.