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August 24, 2011

Edoardo Molinari


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Good morning.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Welcome back. Glad we managed to pry you from your suite in the Gleneagles Hotel as defending champion. Take us back to this tournament last year and what it did for you before we go forward.
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Yeah, it was a fantastic week. I think it was something special, because when you have to win a tournament to -- it's very difficult to win a tournament when you have to. And to be able to win and to be able to do it by birdieing the last three holes was probably the most special week of my golf career.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: What did it do for you in terms of being a player and confidence?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: It's obviously an unbelievable boost to your confidence, because when you do that under that kind of pressure, then you are not scared of anything else. And as I said, it was a great week.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: And looking ahead to this week?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Looking ahead to this week, I played 18 holes yesterday in the afternoon. Obviously I have great memories from last year. I really like the course obviously. It's a course that sets up to my eye really well. And you know, I have been hitting the ball very well lately, probably the best I've ever hit the ball in my career. My putting hasn't been working, so I've been trying a few things with putting and hopefully things start solid for this week.

Q. Some changes have been made to the course, I think the main ones for this year, the 7th green, can you give us your thoughts on that? Has it improved?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: I think it's a great change. Yesterday when we were playing the hole, I had the pin positions from last year, and the four pins last year were like 24 left, 21 foot left, 22 feet left, so it was four pins in the same area. And anything on the right side of the green would have gone down to that left pin. Whereas this year, there are at least four, five, six good pin positions. You can use the right side of the green. There's a very good pin short left.
So I think it's a great change, because that hole was a great tee shot, and then once you hit the tee shot on the fairway, you just hit the second shot on the right and it would have gone down on the green.

Q. One change we are waiting to find out is on the 18th, and obviously you have nice memories on the 18th, do you think that's a strong enough hole for a Ryder Cup, finishing hole?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: I think so. I think in The Ryder Cup, ideally you want to have a long par 5 or a difficult par 4 to finish with. I think 18 is hardly reachable when it's into the wind and it's reachable when it downwind. It's not too difficult around the green obviously. But it gives you a chance for a 3 or for a 4. It's not that it's a gimmie if you make 4 there; if it's blowing into the wind it's not reachable. And as I said, if the wind is not blowing, it's a driver or 3-wood, so it's not like you make four every time.

Q. Does it lack drama?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Possibly. Possibly. Especially I mean if you look at the 18th at -- well, even the 18th at Celtic Manor, I don't know how many guys hit the ball in the water last year in The Ryder Cup.
So I don't think it's very different from the 18th hole at Celtic Manor, because there it was so dangerous going for the green that at the end of the day, you were only going for the green when you were playing for the edge of the green. So it's not a huge difference.
I like the hole as it is. I think as I said, it gives you a chance for a 3 or for a 4 when the wind is not blowing is and when the wind is blowing, you have to play the hole quite well to make a 4.

Q. The problems with your putting, is there any specific --
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Well, I have been putting poorly probably since The Ryder Cup last year. Ryder Cup last year was the last week I really putted well. Then I had a decent week on the greens this year at the Masters, and apart from that, you know, I've been holing nothing.
I tried to switch putters, go back to the putter I was using last year, but that didn't work. And now I'm just trying to keep things simple and just do -- I'm working on my takeaway a little bit and my posture.
I'm feeling much, much better every day, so I think I'm very close to addressing the problem completely.

Q. You secured your place in The Ryder Cup with your victory last year, how does that show how important and influential a tournament this actually is?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Absolutely. Last year this tournament was the last tournament for The Ryder Cup qualifications. It added a lot of importance to the tournament but this year, the field is strong enough, and I mean, the course is very nice. So I think it's one of the best tournaments to play in the schedule.
Obviously I like the place very much, but I think you'll see more and more players in the next few players coming here, and also because of The Ryder Cup being played here in four years' time, you'll see more and more top players coming.

Q. And what memories do you have of last year?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Well, as I said, I have great memories. Yesterday I played the back nine on my own just my caddie and I, and it was very nice feelings coming down 16, 17 and 18, just remembering those three holes. It was something really special and something that I think every player dreams -- every player dreams to win a tournament by birdieing the last three holes and winning by one and making The Ryder Cup Team that way.

Q. You talked about the pressure of doing that when you actually had to do it, that's the most difficult thing; have you always been good at handling pressure, and if not, how did you take the steps where you could handle it?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Luckily I've always been quite good at playing under pressure. Even when I was on The Challenge Tour, I won quite a few tournaments, and I think The Challenge Tour helps you a lot in that, because if you come out on Tour from Q-School, it usually takes a few years until you are in contention regularly to win tournaments. The two years I played on The Challenge Tour, I was in contention quite often.
While obviously the level is easier on The Challenge Tour, the level of play, I think it deeps you how to win tournaments. Even on The Challenge Tour when you have a two-shot lead on Sunday, you still have to go out and play well. I think that's a really valuable experience for when you come out on Tour, and then when it happens on Tour, you know how to get the job done. I think part of my success last year was definitely due to The Challenge Tour years.

Q. Did you stay in the main hotel last year?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Yes, I did. Not in a suite. So this year it's even better.

Q. How special is it?
EDOARDO MOLINARI: Very nice. It's one of the best rooms I've ever been in. And obviously the hotel itself is fantastic, so it's going to be a very nice week.

Q. Is your name on the door?.
EDOARDO MOLINARI: No, if I win this year, maybe next.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thanks for joining us, good luck this week.

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