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‘Find small margins’

‘Find small margins’


Edoardo Molinari has lifted the lid on the role he will play ahead of next year’s eagerly-awaited Ryder Cup in Rome.

“When I spoke with Luke when he was named captain, he was very keen on having me on board because he thinks that by this time next year I will probably be working with at least half the team, if not more,” said the Italian DP World star, who has carved out a notable side career as a coach to the likes of U.S Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick and Norwegian star Viktor Hovland.

“What I’m doing with individual players is just trying to help them understand their strengths and weaknesses,” he explained, “what’s happening when they’re playing well, what changes when they’re not playing so well so that they manage their game a little better.

Ryder Cup

‘Built with the Ryder Cup in mind’ – Europe VC Molinari on Marco Simone course


“Lately we have been doing a lot more course management, how to play certain holes based on your strength and weakness.

“We are just trying to find small margins and small edges and trying to help each and every one of them to play better and perform better and hopefully we will do the same thing during the Ryder Cup when it will be a bit more about picking the right guys for the team for the course – and the right pairings as well.”

“The pairings are critical. When you think about it, more than half the points are from fourballs or foursomes and if you get the pairings right, I think that can go a long way to winning the Ryder Cup.”

This match-making exercise is another element that Molinari, who was part of the European team that won at Celtic Manor in 2010, will take on, in addition to the statistical-based approach that has propelled his players to success.

He continued: “It won’t be only based on stats because at the end of the day, you want to know and to make sure that the two guys like each other, like to play with each other and that they’re friendly with each other.

“I don’t want to name anyone, but there’s been some mistakes in the past from both sides. You just weigh up all your options and then you make what you think is the best decision for the team. As long as we avoid big mistakes, I think we are going at a good starting point.”

Donald revealed last week that Molinari was key to the decision to opt for six captain’s picks for the next match – three more than Padraig Harrington had for the battle at Whistling Straits last year.

“One of the reasons is that on paper, we don’t have the strength in depth that the U.S. team might have,” added Molinari, “so you want to have as many options available as you want.

“You want to have in-form players in the team and by limiting the number of automatic selections it just gives you more flexibility when the time comes.

“You might need a partner for one of our top guys to play in foursomes or fourballs and then all of a sudden you find one that is a perfect fit and is a good fit for the golf course.

“You might have experienced players already in the team so you might want to have rookies. I think that the bigger number just allows you to pick the best possible team.

“You might have a player who plays very well in the beginning of the qualifying process and then all of a sudden he’s playing very poorly in the last four or five months.

“If you had only four wild cards, then unfortunately you could have a player that you don’t really want in the team if you know what I mean. Having less picks just ties your hands a little bit.

“We just want to make sure that our team will be the strongest possible, the best for this course, and everyone will gel together nicely.”

The change in the selection process mirrors a similar move from the U.S ahead of the last showdown.

“You know that the six guys that will qualify will have played well for 12 months, because they will have a lot of points and you can’t get all those points in a three-month stretch.

“So the six guys that will qualify will be the core of the team and they will be very strong and consistent players.”

Molinari also insisted that the door currently remains open for those players that have quit the DP World Tour for its LIV Golf rival.

Those players were initially suspended from the Tour but those sanctions were put on hold ahead of a court date in February that is set to decide their fate.

“As of today, as Keith [Pelley, DP World Chief Executive] said last week, they can qualify, they can get picks. We are treating them exactly the same as everyone else,“ said Molinari.

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Molinari and Donald walk the Marco Simone course


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