Molinari crowned Race to Dubai champion
When Francesco Molinari is old and grey, he will look back at 2018 as perhaps the best year of his life.
He started in January with question marks against his name and finishes as Champion Golfer of the Year, a Ryder Cup legend and now the Race to Dubai winner.
Only Tommy Fleetwood could stop Molinari from ending the year as the European Tour’s best player on Sunday at the DP World Tour Championship but he dropped out of contention over the weekend,leaving the path clear for the Italian.
Since May, Molinari has now won the BMW Championship, finished runner-up at the Italian Open, won the Quicken Loans National on the PGA Tour and then claimed his maiden major at Carnoustie.
At the Ryder Cup, he won all five of his matches – the first European in history to do so.
Winning the Race to Dubai was almost a given.
"It's incredible," said Molinari. "Now I'm going to have time to sit down and relax and really think back about the last few months.
"This morning on the first tee the announcement is the winner of The Open Championship, Race to Dubai leader, it doesn't sound real at the moment.
"It's more than I ever dreamed of achieving. I've seen guys that I think are better players than me not winning majors and not winning Order of Merits or Race to Dubais. To achieve those things in one single season is just incredible.
"We've been doing very well this year when it comes to the challenges. I never won a Ryder Cup match and I won five out of five. Carnoustie was really not my favourite place, to say the least, before this year, and I go there and win."
Molinari’s Open triumph came at the end of one of the most dramatic Sundays in major history, as he held off the likes of a rampant Tiger Woods, home favourite Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jordan Spieth.
In Dubai, he only had close friend Fleetwood to contend with and a tied-26th finish, 12 shots off winner Danny Willett, was enough.
"It was challenging this week because obviously you try not to, but you are always keeping an eye on what Tommy is doing and I did it very well the first day,” he added.
“I think probably some adrenaline, as well, got me going a little bit more, and just hit a wall the last few holes and never really recovered from that.
"It's been a very, very long season, travelling across the ocean a lot of times, and playing a lot of tournaments. I can't wait to sit down and relax and really process what's happened in the last few months.
"It's going to take a while to get used to, but I'm looking forward at the same time to next year and I'm sure that there's more good golf to come from me. Hopefully we will see already next year."