Europe’s victory – thanks largely to the pairing of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood – over arguably the strongest U.S. group ever assembled takes some beating when reviewing the 2018 European Tour season. European captain Thomas Bjorn lifting the Ryder Cup pips Molinari’s historic British Open victory.
Few would have guessed two of the humblest gamers on the European Tour would unite to do what no European tandem had performed: win 4 factors in a Ryder Cup. Not even the legendary, virtually unbeatable Seve Ballesteros-Jose Maria Olazabal partnership managed that.
Bjorn appears to be like a tactical genius for the pairing, however the Dane didn’t want Albert Einstein’s brains to see this partnership. Molinari has been shut pals with Fleetwood because the Englishman arrived on tour.
They as soon as belonged to Rocky Hambric’s Hambric Stellar Golf Restricted administration steady and had been managed by Fleetwood’s spouse, Clare (nee Craig), when she labored for Hambric. Each gamers have cut up from the group, but it surely’s widespread to see Tommy, Clare, Francesco and his spouse, Valentina, eating collectively on tour.
Molinari’s eldest little one is known as Tommaso, Italian for Tommy, whereas Fleetwood and Clare christened their son Franklin when he was born final 12 months. That each one befell lengthy earlier than #Moliwood started trending on Twitter.
Speak concerning the seeds of a Ryder Cup bromance?
Bjorn’s solely query was what number of instances he would pair them, as Molinari’s coach, Denis Pugh, reveals.
“They had been put out collectively in follow on Tuesday, and there have been all types of discussions on whether or not to play them simply in foursomes, or simply in four-balls
or to play them 3 times,” mentioned Pugh, who has coached Molinari since he was an beginner. “Even with three days to go, it wasn’t obviously apparent they had been going to play all 4 classes collectively.”
Bjorn did what any good captain would have performed and went with the movement after they gained so convincingly twice on the opening day. It didn’t come all the way down to tactical genius. It was obvious it will have been loopy to separate up the tandem.
“It was form of a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance child pairing,” Pugh mentioned. “Tommy’s enthusiasm and Francesco’s form of cussed, hard-nosed method gelled collectively effectively. Francesco’s proved this 12 months he’s not going to again down from anyone in any state of affairs, and that gave Tommy a whole lot of assurances to flourish.”
Maybe essentially the most satisfying side of the partnership is the best way the 2 gamers performed themselves at Le Golf Nationwide. They didn’t strut round, pump their chests and go bug-eyed like Ian Poulter. There wasn’t the identical uncooked, virtually atavistic emotion Jon Rahm confirmed when he defeated Tiger Woods in singles.
Fleetwood confirmed an exuberance you’d anticipate from a 27-year-old making his debut on a profitable Ryder Cup group. Molinari loved the celebrations however was extra low-key. And if any European participant had a proper to imbibe and begin singing “Ole, Ole, Ole,” it was Molinari.
The Italian’s Sunday singles victory over Phil Mickelson gave him one other entry into the file books: He grew to become the primary European to win 5 factors out of 5. Legends Ballesteros, Olazabal, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie and even “Mr. Ryder Cup” Poulter haven’t performed that.
It was precisely what Molinari deserved after a season through which he made historical past by changing into Italy’s first main winner with victory within the British Open at Carnoustie. He additionally gained the BMW PGA Championship and the Quicken Loans Nationwide, his first PGA Tour title that made him the primary Italian to win on the world’s high circuit.
“Francesco has performed every thing somewhat higher this 12 months,” Pugh mentioned. “Three issues have been actually essential: hitting it farther off the tee has
been large, studying to play ugly golf when he has to, and placing extra assuredly. These components and a whole lot of different little issues have given him a lot confidence and turned him into a very world-class participant.”
The excellent news for European golf is Molinari is barely 35. He’s probably obtained extra majors and undoubtedly extra Ryder Cups in him. Fleetwood’s simply 27. Don’t be shocked if Moliwood gives the idea for Europe’s Ryder Cup protection at Whistling Straits in two years. Gwk
High 5 European Tour Moments of 2018
5. Chris Paisley, Richard McEvoy and Paul Waring be part of Pepperell with breakthrough wins to extend English dominance of Euro Tour.
4. Sergio Garcia wins three factors out of 4 to surpass Nick Faldo as all-time European Ryder Cup factors winner and justify his wild-card choose.
3. Eddie Pepperell wins twice, the identical Eddie P who mentioned he’d “fallen out of affection with golf” after a disastrous 2016 season.
2. Georgia Corridor wins Ricoh Girls’s British Open at Royal Lytham to turn into first British girl to win a serious since Catriona Matthew.
1. Francesco Molinari (above) turns into Italy’s first main winner with victory within the British Open at Carnoustie.
(Word: This story seems within the November 2018 subject of Golfweek.)