Francesco Molinari named European Tour Golfer of the Year
By Dan Sansom
Last Updated: 12/12/18 5:27pm
Francesco Molinari has been named European Tour Golfer of the Year after a memorable 2018.
The Italian wins the award for the first time after enjoying a stand-out year which saw him win The Open, the PGA Championship and the Race to Dubai.
The 36-year-old also helped Europe win the 2018 Ryder Cup, securing five points out of five, becoming the first European player in history to win all five of his matches.
Molinari formed an unstoppable pairing with Tommy Fleetwood - which became known as 'Moliwood' - to deliver big victories in the fourballs and foursomes before beating Phil Mickelson four and two in the singles.
Speaking about the award, he told Sky Sports News: "It's incredible. I'm very proud to receive the Player of the Year award.
"Like a lot of things, I probably never dreamed of this at the beginning of the year, knowing what kind of players there are now on the European Tour. So I'm very, very proud. It's a reflection of how good the year's been and I'll try to do it again next year."
Although delighted with the accolade, Molinari has been generally happy with the level of golf he has been able to maintain throughout the season.
He added: "I'm very proud of the trophies but even more of the level of golf I've played throughout the summer.
"The start of the year was good but not as good obviously as what was to come. From the win at Wentworth it seemed to click and I think I got to a level of performance that I had never reached before.
"I know how hard I worked to get there so I know it won't be easy to get there again but that has to be the goal going forward."
Keith Pelley, CEO of the PGA European Tour, said: "I think when you talk about Francesco, he is consistently a great player year after year after year."
"But I think what makes him very special is his off-course activities and he's spent so much money and so much time giving to charities.
"His charity Borne, which helps scientific research prevent premature babies from being born is something which really showcases what Francesco really is and that he is a very, very good golfer who is a special person off the course."