July 11, 2018
THE MODERATOR: Like to welcome Francesco Molinari to the interview room. Making your first start at John Deere Classic that week.
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Start off with just a few comments on your to play here this week.
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, obviously I've asked around about the course to guys and heard very good things. Watched it on TV in the past few years, and I thought I will come and check it out might have. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: You've had a chance to see at least the first nine holes. I don't know how much you have you've played. Thoughts on the course?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, I played the back nine yesterday afternoon; front nine this morning. It's very good. Great conditions. Obviously you can see few birdies out there if you play well.
But, yeah, it's a good course. You need to hit the ball well off the tee. Few tight holes. A lot have run-off areas around the greens. I think the premium is going to be on ball striking.
Obviously the scoring I guess is going to be quite low, but looking forward to the challenge.
THE MODERATOR: You're obviously having an incredible year with the eight-stroke victory, cracked your first PGA Tour title, and top 25 finishes in to the first two majors of the year.
How, A, satisfied were you to get that first PGA Tour victory and with your season overall?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, very proud, satisfied with the Quicken Loans victory. It's been a frustrating year, to be honest. At the beginning of the season I felt like I was playing well and hitting the ball well, but not getting enough out of it.
So it's great to turn a season around like that, like I've done in the last few weeks. There is still time to hopefully add more wins or more good results anyway.
So like I said in Washington, the goal is to get to the TOUR Championship. Never been there, so I really love to play there.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, with that, we'll take a few questions.
Q. What has changed for you in the last few weeks, couple months?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: I guess a lot of it is confidence. Obviously I went back to Europe to play in May, and had two really good weeks there winning and finishing second. Probably getting some confidence from that.
My putting has been improving a lot since March probably, March/April, so slowly, steady improvement. It showed in the last few weeks.
Q. You mentioned that you need to hit the ball well out here and roll it well. How does this course match up with your game?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, I mean, I think I'm lucky enough that I play the game in a way that you can play most courses, to be honest, if I'm in good form, which I am at the moment.
So, again, it's going to be a case of doing my things well, going through my processes well through the week, and hitting good shots. If you hit good shots you're going to have quite a lot of chances around here.
So that means I have to making some putts, and hopefully get to Sunday afternoon with a chance.
Q. You clearly established yourself couple of weeks ago with that runaway victory. There is a long list of players who won one time on the PGA TOUR. Do you feel a sense of needing to win a second time for validation? Former winners here, like Brian Harman, like Bryson DeChambeau, said this first win is incredible. They felt even better after a second win because they felt like it wasn't just a one-time wonder.
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah, sure. I think for me being European, obviously first thing was to come over here and prove myself. So to get the first win already, I think it's big achievement. There is not too many Europeans who have done that.
Like I said, I feel very proud of that, but I'm young enough or not old enough to think that I've got a few years in front of me, and definitely the goal is to win more.
If I can keep the improvements on the putting going, I think I can win more tournaments in general. Since I been playing a lot of golf here in the States the last few years, my plan going forward is to keep doing that. So hopefully get more wins over here then.
Q. You happened to wonderfully win at a tournament managed by Tiger woods. You probably heard from him and many other players. Are there some very meaningful things you've heard from people you would be willing to share that propels and motivates you more?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Well, obviously receiving the trophy from Tiger was great. I been looking up to him when I was a teenager seriously getting into golf and starting to think about turning pro. He was pretty much at the apex of his career, so I think he was a model for all my generation. So to get the trophy from him was great.
And then just in general to see how the victory was received back home in Italy. You know, got it a lot of media requests to people that probably don't usually care too much about golf.
So that's always a nice achievement and nice feeling.
Q. What did you do last week coming off the first tour win getting ready for the next event?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Well, I went back home to London. A lot of school stuff because it was the last week of school for my son there. So, you know, relax, especially the first part of the week.
Then by Wednesday, Thursday, starting to get back into it. I feel this time of the season obviously we play a lot. There is not a need to do a lot of work. It's more about the quality of what you do.
I feel prepared and ready to go this week. Looking forward to another good week.
Q. On 7, the par-3 on the front there, there is a turkey that walks in front. Ever had anything like that before, seen anything like that before?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Maybe not turkeys, but on golf courses you see wildlife walking around and stuff like that. No, it's a beautiful place and I'm really happy to be here.
Hopefully I'll pick up some nice memories this week.
Q. Some guys skip this tournament in advance of Carnoustie. Do you feel less challenged having played in Europe so well to make the adjustment from a going here to there? Just another plane ride, so to speak?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah. Some of that. But at the same time, I don't think there is a recipe to play well at majors. Last year I stayed home; this week I went up to see the coast, play the week before a few times, and then ended up missing the cut.
So I thought, Why not try something different? (Indiscernible) and won it in the past, so hopefully works for next week as well. But I'm here this week, and obviously the goal is to try and play well this week.
Q. Playing on both tours, you're trying to balance Ryder Cup goals with FedExCup as well. With what you've done the last month, do you feel like you've set yourself up well? Is the pressure off now a little bit?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Yeah. In a way, yeah. The win at Quicken Loans was really big in FedExCup points. I was right on the bubble, so to get that many points and jump up the rankings, it was massive. It gives me a chance now with these coming tournaments before the playoffs to try and get some more points to get closer to the TOUR Championship. So I'll try and do that.
Yeah, and Ryder Cup is the same. In the end, I think if you approach every week doing your best and with good processes and doing well your things, that's the best way to reach long-term goals like Ryder Cup and stuff like that.
Q. If the jet was not available to go directly to Carnoustie from here, do you think you would be here?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI: Good question. I don't know. Luckily we have the jet, and it's a big bonus obviously to save some travel time. I guess it wouldn't be too easy to get out of here Sunday night without the jet.
You know, we're lucky to get that chance. Makes it easier to get over there.
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