Francesco Molinari adjusting to life among elite after memorable 2018
Last Updated: 14/03/19 1:45pm
Francesco Molinari admits he initially struggled with the added media obligations and expectations following his Open Championship win last year.
The world No 7, who has a mixed record at The Players Championship with four top-10s and four mixed cuts in eight appearances, won his first tournament of 2019 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last week.
The Italian, who ended 2018 with victory in the Race to Dubai, says he now feels more comfortable with the burden that goes with being a top-10 player.
"Obviously I had to adapt a little bit, and I think after The Open Championship last year, for everyone around me was a bit of a wake-up call because they saw how I reacted to the sudden attention and the time I had to spend doing things that if I had the choice probably I wouldn't have done," he said.
Round 1 tee-times at Sawgrass
Tee-times for the opening round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida
"So it's a matter of trying to find a balance. To still have the time to work and have the time to spend at home with the family and I think that's going to be always the first priority."
Asked if he felt extra responsibility as one of the world's top players, he said: "I feel a responsibility towards myself, first of all, to show up at tournaments after good preparation.
"I feel a responsibility towards my family, knowing that if I don't spend time with them because I'm away playing tournaments, I better make the most of it.
"And then I feel a responsibility towards the guys in my team because I know they obviously invest their time in me.
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"I think I am comfortable. Like I said, I needed to adapt. Last year it wasn't something that I've been doing all my life, so I had to get used to it and I think that's why after The Open Championship until the Ryder Cup I didn't play my best golf.
"It takes energy from you, so you need to get used to it and learn how to manage your time better and that was part of it."I think hopefully now I should be ready for it and the people around me, as well, should be more ready for it and we'll see what happens this year."