Francesco Molinari became the first Italian national to win any golf major, holding off a host of star names to claim The Open Championship at Carnoustie yesterday (22 July).
Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy were among the golfing titans Molinari saw off to raise the Claret Jug. The Italian produced a two-under final round of 69 in windy conditions on the Scottish links to finish eight under.
He finished two ahead of four players, including home favourite Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, tied on six under. Tiger Woods finished five under after leading midway through the round, with Jordan Spieth on four under.
“It is absolutely amazing,” Molinari said. “I think it will take a long time to sink in. It has been a great week. The course bit me a few times in the first two days, but to go bogey-free around this track at the weekend is incredible.”
Molinari, ranked 15th in the world, had been tipped as one to watch before the tournament at Carnoustie. But who is the European champion and how did he reach this pinnacle in his career?
Francesco Molinari’s background and amateur career
Francesco Molinari was born in 1982 in Turin, Italy, and is the younger brother of Edoardo Molinari, an Italian professional golfer who plays on the European Tour. As an amateur, Francesco Molinari won the Amateur Stroke Play Championship twice and the Italian Match Play Championship in 2004.
He turned professional later that year.
Since turning pro in 2004, Molinari has enjoyed a scoring average of 69.891 (correct at the time of writing) and total official earnings of $4,249,079.
Molinari, who joined the PGA TOUR in 2014, has achieved two PGA TOUR victories, five international victories and one additional victory. His best results of 2018 have been winning both The Open Championship and the Quicken Loans National.
The 35-year-old’s international victories include winning the 2006 Telecom Italia Open (Europe), the 2010 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Europe), the 2012 Open de España (Europe), the 2016 Italian Open (Europe) and the 2018 BMW Championship (Europe).
His additional victory was the 2009 OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup (with Edoardo Molinari), where the brothers led Italy to its first World Cup victory.
Molinari has represented Italy for the Eisenhower Trophy in 2002 and 2004, represented Europe in the Bonallack Trophy, the Palmer Cup and the St Andrews Trophy.
The Italian has represented his country professionally in the World Cup (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 [winners], 2011, 2013, 2016), and has represented Europe in the Seve Trophy (2009, 2011 and 2013 [winners]), the Ryder Cup (2010 [winners] and 2012 [winners]) and the Royal Trophy (2012).
Personal life and interests
Molinari, who lives in London, England, is a dedicated fan of the Italian football team Internazionale; he also supported West Ham United after the Italian football manager Gianfranco Zola starting managing the East London side in 2008.
On the official PGA TOUR website, he cites soccer, snowboarding, video games and movies among his main hobbies and interests. Molinari says he “enjoys snowboarding in the winter and playing soccer when not supporting Inter Milan.”
Molinari is married to Valentina Molinari who was also born in Italy. The couple has two children, one boy and one girl. Their oldest boy is called Tommaso, but they have not revealed the name of their youngest daughter to the public.
Francesco has said he often Skype calls the family while he is away to keep in touch and see his children. Since having the children, his wife no longer attends major golfing events to watch Francesco play.