Quiet man Molinari brings Europe to a crescendo

Francesco Molinari has emerged as a star of world golf in 2018, but his quiet nature remains unchanged, writes Omnisport's Russell Greaves.

Francesco Molinari   -  Getty Images

"There's no point in trying to be something that you're not," said Francesco Molinari at the start of the week at Le Golf National.

He was responding to a journalist who described him as "insular", drawing a stark contrast to the likes of his more colourful team-mates Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm and, perhaps more pertinently, Tommy Fleetwood.

Molinari admitted he was trying to smile a little bit more after he was caricatured for his deadpan nature in a video organised by captain Thomas Bjorn ahead of the tournament, in which an impressionist poked fun at Team Europe's players.

But the introverted Italian was the catalyst for his continent's Ryder Cup triumph, claiming all five points on offer to prove you can achieve anything when you prioritise actions over words.

His partnership with Fleetwood was a joy to behold, the duo giving rise to a 'Moliwood' moniker that was about as unforeseeable as the resounding nature of the hosts' 17.5 to 10.5 win in France.

Four times they paired up, four times they prevailed. Without Molinari, rookie Fleetwood floundered in the singles as the Champion Golfer of the Year powered on.

When Molinari earned that title at Carnoustie, he emerged from a field of contenders that included Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth – box-office names who, in many minds, would have made for better stories.

Molinari's modest reputation matched his diminutive stature and he could hardly be expected to compete for a share of the spotlight in that company.

Even the way he compiled his winning round was unassuming. He made par on each of the first 13 holes in assembling an unblemished scorecard, with his rivals going backwards in testing links conditions.

Much like at Le Golf National, a beautiful but punishing course, he was met with a true test of skill and character and rose to it without fuss.

And this week, just outside Paris, he enjoyed success with the same understated approach. The Torino talisman, chalking up points without so much as a cup of the ear or a shushing of his detractors, though admittedly there are very few of those. He is an example to all, and there are some on the other side who would do well to take note.

Molinari was asked on Tuesday how his life had changed after the Claret Jug came into his possession in July. Short answer: "It hasn't really."

When the Ryder Cup heads to Italy in 2022, it would seem fitting for the posters to simply bear his image and name – so concise, so precise, so Molinari.

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