Molinari ‘honoured’ to be offered Ryder Cup vice-captain’s role

While host nation Italy will not have a playing representative in the next month’s Ryder Cup in Rome, it will at least have two Italians among Team Europe’s backroom staff, after captain Luke Donald announced that Francesco Molinari will be joining his brother Eduardo in the line up of vice captains that will be on duty at the matches at Marco Simone G&CC.
Molinari, 40, joins his brother Edoardo, Thomas Bjørn, Nicolas Colsaerts and José María Olazábal in Donald’s European backroom team for the biennial contest against the United States, which get under way on September 29.
Molinari made his Ryder Cup debut alongside his elder brother at Celtic Manor in 2010 and was also played his part in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ two years later, halving his singles match with Tiger Woods as Olazábal’s team claimed a famous 14½-13½ victory in Chicago.
In 2018, the year he won The Open, he became the first European player to win a maximum five points from five matches as Europe reclaimed the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris, forming an iconic partnership with Tommy Fleetwood which earned the duo the nickname ‘Moliwood’.In January of this year, Molinari led Continental Europe to victory as playing captain in the inaugural edition of the Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi, a team match play event which Donald introduced to help Europe’s preparation for next month’s Ryder Cup.

Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood of Europe won all four matches that they were paired together for during the 2018 Ryder Cup
Molinari said: “I am very proud to be part of Luke’s team. I started the year hoping to be there as a player, but it is still a great honour to be there as a vice captain. I got a phone call from Luke asking if I was interested and obviously it was a clear answer from me. He is assembling a really good team of people. A lot of them are close to me in different ways. We’ve all shared the stage together already in some form and that helps when it comes to decision time and putting Luke and the players in the best conditions possible to perform at their best.
“The coolest moment I have had in the Ryder Cup was making my debut alongside Edoardo in Wales and experiencing for the first time what it meant to be part of the European team. It is super special to be there with him again in Rome. It is a proud moment any time you get to put on the shirt with the European badge on it. It’s a Ryder Cup which is particularly close to my heart being played in Rome, so I will do whatever I can to help Luke and the team and hopefully bring the trophy back to Europe.”
Donald said: “I chose Francesco because he has a lot of experience in Ryder Cups and he is a Major winner. He has a tremendous individual career, but he is also Italian. I wanted him there no matter what, whether it was playing or as a vice captain. With his brother there too, I think it is going to be pretty special, having both Edoardo and Francesco on my team representing Team Europe, but also representing Italy. Francesco is a hero in Italy. He has so much respect from the Italians for what he has done for the game of golf. Certainly that respect is also there from me too and I couldn’t be happier to round out my team of vice-captains with him.”
Automatic qualification for the European team will conclude on September 3. So far, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland have confirmed their places, with a further three automatic spots available. Donald will then announce his six captain’s picks at 2pm on September 4.