Fresh blow for Francesco Molinari at end of torrid 2020

Francesco Molinari

In 2018, Francesco Molinari was the ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’. He’ll end 2020 outside the world’s top-100.

Following the latest Official World Golf Ranking update today, the Italian has slipped to 105th on the standings.

It’s the first time since November 2008 that Molinari has been outside the top-100. On January 1 this year, he was ranked 18th. As recently as September 2019, he was fifth.

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There are, of course, compelling reasons for the 38-year-old’s tumble down the standings. He has played in only eight events in 2020, and just three since golf resumed from its COVID-19 lockdown, after relocating to the USA with his family at the height of the pandemic.

A tie for 15th at the Houston Open at the start of November was sandwiched between missed cuts at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the Masters.

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Speaking of the Masters, the spectre of his 2019 back nine collapse at Augusta National continues to haunt Molinari. In 23 appearances since he blew his shot at a Green Jacket, a collapse which allowed Tiger Woods to win his 15th major championship, Molinari has failed to register a single top-10 finish.

In an interview with The Guardian last month, he explained the psychological impact of that Masters meltdown.

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“Unfortunately, my natural tendency is to think more about defeats and the ones I don’t win,” he said. “That’s just how my brain has always worked.”

The consolation, for what it’s worth, is that, despite his rankings tumble, Molinari is still Italy’s No.1 golfer. His nearest challenger for that honour, Renato Paratore, is some way back in 145th with Francesco Laporta (153) and Guido Migliozzi (195) the other two Italians in the world’s top-200.

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