GRANDE ORGOGLIO ITALIANO FRANCESCO MOLINARI SU GOLF DIGEST
Francesco Molinari in copertina su Golf Digest nel numero di dicembre!!
Un ulteriore riconoscimento internazionale per il nostro Chicco al termine di una stagione da sogno 👏🏻👏🏻🇮🇹⛳️
EDITOR’S NOTE After Francesco Molinari’s amazing 2018 season, including a victory in the Open Championship at Carnoustie, an eight-stroke win on the PGA Tour and a 5-0 record in Europe’s Ryder Cup beatdown outside Paris, he was interviewed in Italian by Massimo De Luca, Editor-in-Chief of Il Mondo del Golf Today, Golf Digest’s affiliate in Italy.
When did your love of golf begin?
I wasn’t even 5 when I began swinging the golf club. In the Molinari family, golf was a passion. My grandparents played, especially my paternal grandparents, and my parents ended up being single-digit-handicappers. But kids under 8 weren’t allowed at their golf club in Torino, which later became our club. So Edoardo [Francesco’s older brother, winner of the 2005 U.S. Amateur and now a tour pro] and I practiced when we would go to Sestriere, the ski town built by the Agnelli family [industrialist Gianni Agnelli was one of the richest men in Italy], where there was an 18-hole course. I had to wait to go to the Golf Club Torino. I got my handicap around 10 years of age. At 12, it was down to 12, and at 16, I was scratch.
When did you realize you were really good and might have a pro career?
Not until I was in university. While we were in high school, Edoardo and I could only practice Wednesday afternoons and on the weekends because of school. My father was really clear: First we had to get degrees, and then we could decide what to do in the future. He was unyielding. And so that’s what we did: I got a degree in economics, Edoardo in engineering. Dad was always worried about our being able to have professions to fall back on if we weren’t successful in golf.
You did your thesis on golf, correct?
My supervisor had been an avid golfer, another single-digit player from my club. I did a study on the business organization of the European Tour, of all its various divisions. He really liked it.
You’re not thinking about being a business executive when you stop playing golf, are you? Should Keith Pelley [European Tour CEO] be worried?
No, no. [Laughs.] I’ve still got a lot of years to go before I retire. I don’t know what I’ll do afterward.
PGA Tour player Wes Bryan commented that he believed your retirement plan would be to hang out in cafés, drink coffee and read books all day. Is this an accurate depiction?
That was an inside joke. We played together in Shanghai, and between shots I jokingly told him about my plans for retirement. It was probably the air in China, being so far from home, that made me a bit homesick. But anyway, there’ll be time to think about retirement. [Molinari turned 36 on Nov. 8; Edoardo will be 38 in February.]
What were your most important results as an amateur?
I won the Sherry Cup in 2004 in Sotogrande, in Spain [Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy are former winners], and I got to the semifinals at the British Amateur at Royal Troon in 2003. I remember melting when I lost to Gary Wolstenholme in the semifinal. My brother was caddieing for me, and Giorgio Bordoni, the Italian National Amateur coach—practically a big brother for me—was walking the course with us.
It was our dream, if I won, to earn the right to play in the Masters. I lost at the 18th hole, so I shook the hand of my competitor, who was 22 years older than me, and sitting on the steps of the clubhouse with Edoardo and Giorgio, we all burst into tears. The dream was gone, and in that moment, I would never have imagined that only three years later, I would be caddieing for my brother at the Masters. He won the U.S. Amateur at Merion, getting the right to play two rounds with Tiger Woods, the Masters reigning champion. Unfortunately, Gio-Gio—our name for coach Giorgio—died suddenly in his sleep in 2013, at only 48 years old. When I won the Open Championship at Carnoustie, that memory came back to me: Edoardo, Giorgio and that cry we had together. Some things you just can’t forget.
Was Edoardo’s victory in the U.S. Amateur at Merion motivation for you?
It was amazing. There was never any jealousy between us. We always cheered one another on. And to participate in the 2010 Ryder Cup [at Celtic Manor] together was very emotional. People chanted, “Two Molinaris; there’s only two Molinaris.” Even Prince Charles chanted it when he was visiting the European team. I met Tiger for the first time while caddieing for Edoardo at the 2006 Masters. He asked my brother who his caddie was. Edoardo explained that I was already a professional—a month later, I won the Italian Open, my first professional success. Then, as you know, Tiger and I crossed paths often, especially this year at Carnoustie and the Ryder Cup. Golfdigest.com