Francesco Molinari is hoping to light the blue touch paper on his game at this week’s Open after the Italian admitted he lost focus following his involvement in last year’s extraordinary Ryder Cup win.
The 30-year-old has managed only three top-ten finishes all year. “Maybe I lost a bit of focus after the Ryder Cup,” Molinari said. “I’ve been trying to fix my shots too much rather than fixing my swing. I’ve been reacting to every single shot and saying, ‘Why did I hit that?’ rather than having a long-term picture of where I want my swing to be and just thinking about the next shot, the next swing, rather than looking back too much.
“It’s not easy when you’re not getting the results you want. I’ve been working really hard during the winter and during the season but golf’s like that. You have to accept the good times and try to get out of the bad times as soon as possible.
“Results haven’t been as good as I hoped for but I’m working on it and hopefully this will be a good week to change the trend.”
Molinari, who halved the final singles match with Tiger Woods in Illinois in September to clinch a 14½-13½ comeback victory for Europe, has never played at Muirfield before and caught his first glimpse of the undulating Scottish links on Monday. “I played 18 holes yesterday, another nine today and I’ll do another nine tomorrow,” he said. “The wind was blowing hard yesterday and it was really tough but fair.”
Molinari is renowned for the accuracy, if not the length, of his driving and he is looking to take advantage of Muirfield’s bone hard fairways when the action gets underway in tomorrow’s opening round.
“It’s always more important in majors to put the ball in play off the tee,” he said. “You have to hit some drivers here although downwind you can leave it in the bag. Maybe St Andrews is the only course on the Open rota where you can gain a big advantage from being a long hitter. It’s generally more about putting the ball in play.”