The Italian delivered a flawless, bogey-free final round at Carnoustie last year, beating the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, to win his maiden major championship.
But with start of The 148th Open at Royal Portrush within touching distance, Molinari was forced to return the prestigious prize after arriving at the course in Northern Ireland.
Whether it will only be a brief parting will depend on the next few days, but Molinari admitted it was not easy to give back the Claret Jug - not that he’s giving it up without a fight.
“I think what makes The Open so special is tradition, basically, history,” he said. “It just has a special look about it. It’s different from any other majors.
“The last time it was at Portrush was a long time ago in the 50s, Faulkner won.
“The fact of being the first Italian to win The Open and to win a major championship, obviously makes it very special for me and also for every Italian around the world.
“It’s always a pretty tough moment to return any trophy, but especially one as special as this one, with so much history. Obviously the goal is to try and get it back.”