Last season’s European Tour No 1 will be defending the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush after becoming the first Italian to win any major – and doing it with a bogey-free final round at Carnoustie while going head-to-head with Tiger Woods.
It had already been a memorable 2018 with victory at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and his first PGA Tour success by a stunning eight shots in the Quicken Loans National, and September saw his standing in the game soar even more when he became the first European to win all five games at a Ryder Cup.
Twice winner of the Italian Open, the first in 2006 coming a year after his older brother Edoardo won the US Amateur title. They then combined in 2009 to give Italy their first-ever World Cup triumph and were partners again in the following season’s Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, becoming the first brothers in the match since 1963.
He then added the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and in 2012 his Ryder Cup half with Woods gave Europe victory in the match moments after Martin Kaymer had ensured that Jose Maria Olazabal’s side retained the trophy.
Molinari came joint-second in the 2017 PGA Championship before his memorable 2018