Magnificent Molinari on Ryder Cup march
Francesco Molinari put himself in the frame for a third Ryder Cup appearance after his brilliant victory in the BMW PGA Championship, the first Rolex Series event of the season.
The Italian has already played on two winning European teams and climbed to fourth in the European Points list with his two-shot win over Rory McIlroy at Wentworth. It was his fifth European Tour title to take him alongside Costantino Rocca as Italy’s most successful player.
The BMW PGA Championship also marked the first week when points are multiplied by 1.5 to give greater weighting for points earned in tournaments in the latter stages of the qualification process to help ensure the European Team reflects those players in form nearer the time of The Ryder Cup itself.
Molinari’s points increased to 2,123,430 to lift him into one of the four qualification places on the European Points list behind Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose and McIlroy.
Rose also won this weekend with a three-shot triumph in the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, although gained no additional Ryder Cup points following the introduction of a new regulation at the start of the Ryder Cup qualification process whereby no Ryder Cup qualification points will be available from tournaments staged anywhere in the world played in the same week as a Rolex Series event on the European Tour.
Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, who put up a valiant defence of his BMW PGA title with a joint third place finish, and Sergio Garcia occupy the four qualifying places on the World Points list.
Last week Thomas Bjørn also confirmed his backroom team with Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood joining Robert Karlsson as vice captains.