They united to great effect for Europe at the Ryder Cup, but Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari must put aside their bromance as the Race to Dubai hots up.
Fleetwood and Open champion Molinari were paired for all four sessions across Friday and Saturday at Le Golf National, returning a perfect 4-0 record to give rise to the ‘Moliwood’ moniker.
But this week at the British Masters they resume their solo crusades as reigning Race to Dubai winner Fleetwood, in second ahead of this week’s event at Walton Heath, attempts to close the gap – standing at more than a million points – to leader and great friend Molinari.
Fleetwood revealed on Wednesday that he is likely to feature at two more tournaments between the British Masters and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, but the Englishman will not be too sorry if he cannot overhaul his Ryder Cup companion.
— British Masters (@british_masters) October 10, 2018
“I’m a long way behind but it’s the opposite of last year in that I led all year last year,” Fleetwood told a media conference. “I might get nowhere near, but I might get close and I’m chasing it now. It’s a stretch to think about it but I’d love to play Dubai with a chance. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.
“It’s kind of in Fran’s hands as well. I’m working on improving, I’d love to be in contention again in a couple of events, there’s plenty of things to look at, it’s no time to rest now.
“There’s probably people I’d prefer to beat but if it was me and Fran it came down to – someone else could always come into the mix – but if it was me and Fran it came down to, either way I’m going to be more than happy.
“I think we won’t hold it against him – with the year he’s having, I think he might have deserved it!”
Molinari, meanwhile, only plans to play at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China between this week and Dubai and the Italian concedes it will feel odd to be competing directly against Fleetwood just a couple of weeks after combining so superbly in Paris.
Hit. Find fairway. Repeat.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 10, 2018
“It’s going to be a little strange to try and beat each other instead of playing as a team,” said Molinari, who is due to play alongside Fleetwood in each of the first two rounds this week.
“That’s the big goal ahead but there’s Tommy and many other guys who are chasing me; there’s still a lot of points and money to play for. All I can do is try and approach it day by day, tournament by tournament, like I’ve done so far. I’ll do my best and we’ll see after Dubai if it’s enough or not.
“It’s been a great summer but a tiring summer, so it’s important to manage my mental energies more than anything. I’d love to do it; I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’ll do my best.
“It’s been a bit of a blur. It’s been going fast with so many things happening and not enough time to rest and recover. My back at the end of the Ryder Cup on Monday wasn’t great – I couldn’t do my shoelaces! I’m not a kid like Tommy, I need to manage my body.”