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October 9, 2019

Francesco Molinari

Rome, Italy

Q. You're a Ryder Cup hero, Open Champion. How do you describe winning your first Italian Open?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Well, very different. It was unreal. I think the first win on Tour, at least for me, I never knew it was coming, and obviously at home, I think no one really expected me to win obviously at the beginning of the week, and you can almost feel the expectations growing through the week. Yeah, just an amazing relief I think to the 18th green, and seeing all the people there celebrating, lots of friends and families.

Yeah, I couldn't have asked for a better first win on Tour.

Q. What about the second Italian Open win?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: That was different, yeah. Many, many years later, obviously different circumstances, different expectations from the start. I had a pretty solid season that year, but I had not won I think in a few years.

Yeah, again, like always in a home event, if you start well, you can feel the vibe changing and people kind of expecting you to win and to bring the trophy home. Yeah, I just remember the back nine on Sunday, really not playing my best golf, but just grinding hard and again, huge relief on the 18th green.

Q. Your first home coming since winning the Claret Jug. Describe your emotions, please?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, well, I think it sums up the journey that I've had in golf, how lucky I've been and how hard I've worked, as well. I was here on this course 17 years ago as an amateur making the cut and I think finishing 25th or something like that, and starting to think, maybe I could, you know, make a living doing this.

Yeah, fast-forward, 17 years, and obviously things have gone far better than expected at the time.

Q. Three years until Ryder Cup here in Rome. Are you nervous about that and how much do you want to be on that team?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: I can't say I'm nervous about it, but it's going to be absolutely mental, The Ryder Cup here. Obviously the passion of the crowds in Italy is always special, but I think in Rome is even more, and yeah, The Ryder Cup itself is something unique.

So I can't wait. Hopefully I'll be on the playing team. It would be probable, you know, the summit of my career, whatever I've done and whatever I do from now on, I think to play a Ryder Cup in your home country, you can't really beat that.

Q. 2018, an immense year. How hard are you working to get 2019's wins back to that level?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, I'm working as hard as I can. You know, in sport and in golf in particular, I think it's not always easy to know exactly which direction you need to go, but I'm doing my best.

The start of the year was very good, and there's been some tougher weeks on the course, but you know, I'm still working hard. I think I'm trending upwards right now, and obviously a lot of big tournaments still to play in until the end of the year.

Hopefully I can get something before the end of the year.

Q. Are you ready for three Italian Opens?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: I am, yeah, but I'm not sure the rest of the field agrees with that. Yeah, I'll do my best with that as always. I'll kind of try to ride the crowds and the passion they have, even though it's not really in my natural demeanor, but it's something I've all tried to do in The Italian Open in my home event. I think it's the only way you can play well, so yeah, I'm looking forward to Thursday and having a fun time with the crowds out there.

Q. How much are you looking forward to this week?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, I can't wait for tomorrow. It's obviously always a very special week. I was lucky enough in the past to have good success at this event and I'm hoping for more of the same, obviously, knowing that it's a very competitive field this year, but it's going to be a special week. Obviously the crowds for me are always special in Italy.

I haven't been in Rome in a long, long time, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Two-time winner of this event, and first win in 200060. What are your memories of that week?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: It seems a very, very long time ago right now. Yeah, a week that I started, hoping to play well, but without any real expectations. And then obviously that changed with the days, and yeah, that's what I mean. Yeah, the most -- the biggest memory is that feeling of no one really expecting me to do well, and just trying to kind of defy the odds.

Yeah, a great week, a great Sunday, and great celebrations at the end of it.

Q. How different a player do you feel now?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Very different. I feel much older, first of all, and I've gone through a process like all golfers and all athletes do, trying to improve year by year, and yeah, I'm obviously happy with what I've achieved so far. I think at the time I wouldn't have probably believed if you told me what was going to happen in the next few years.

But you know, I'm still out here, I'm still playing, and I still want to get better and win more.

Q. Rolex Series Event. How much does that change your outlook on these events and the rest of the players?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, well, Rolex Series have been a massive addition to The European Tour. Obviously they are the weeks that you circumstance until red in the calendar, and even more when you're playing in your home country. Every Rolex Series Event is special. Wentworth was special. This is going to be even more. Yeah, big Ryder Cup points.

There's loads of reasons to try and play well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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