One half of the affectionately named Moliwood duo, Tommy Fleetwood insists his big screen partner, Francesco Molinari is too good not to rediscover the form that made him arguably the best player in the world just two years ago.
The record breaking Ryder Cup partnership were unbeatable at Le Golf National two years ago with the Italian becoming the first European to win all five points in an historic week in Paris.
Indeed, not much could go wrong for Molinari in 2018, an absolute force on the world stage where he claimed three titles, including the famed Claret Jug at Carnoustie.
He looked the man to beat at Augusta last April too – the man set to upset the applecart as Tiger hunted Major number 15 – but the bulletproof Francesco suddenly displayed chinks in the armour and since his two dips in the drink on 12 and 15 at The Masters, not much has gone right for the Italian.
That said, change has been afoot for the now 37-year old, not least a recent relocation of his family from London to California where work has already begun on his golf game.
Not seen since a certain global pandemic ground golf to a halt back in March, the sight of Molinari grinding on the range was a welcomed one in recent weeks and given his talent, on top of a more settled outlook now that the move is complete, Fleetwood is confident results will soon follow.
“I think he’ll be looking forward to coming back,” said Fleetwood ahead of his own return to the UK at this week’s Scottish Open.
“They have done that move now, and he can start progressing to where he wants to play again and stuff. I think everybody will be happy to see him, but I think he’s just taking care of things that he knew he wanted to do and the family wanted to do, and then he’ll be back very soon, I’m guessing.
“In golf, as in life, you go through great spells, and for six, seven months, he was the best golfer on the planet pretty much, not far off. I think everyone had expectations, and they’re huge for somebody like that when he’s playing like that.
“He’s gone through a slight loss of form, and then this all happened, Covid and everything, and he’s moved house.
“I’ve had my good times and poor times in my career so far. I’m sure my poor times will come again like everyone else, but he’s far too good to not win again and start playing well again.”
Moliwood’s Tommy hasn’t exactly been setting the world alight in recent weeks either. He entered the US Open off the back of a podium finish in Portugal but one of the fancied men pre-tournament failed to make the cut at Winged Foot.
Far from an ordinary year, Fleetwood admits that the ‘new normal’ has taken some getting used to since golf’s restart in June:
“I just think there’s been changes that have been out of our control. I could easily take it for granted at the point where we are in the year, where the schedule is funky and things have changed, but I think it’s easy when you’ve played for a while now to take it for granted that we are playing all the time.
“It is different and it’s a strange year but at the same time, turning up week in, week out with a chance to play golf tournaments, to win golf tournaments, to win majors, that’s the way you’ve got to look at it. Things are different and a bit weird, but it doesn’t actually stop you from having the ability and having the chance to have a great season still.
“There are still plenty of good events to play, I had a long spell in America, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot from things being taken away from you or things being slightly different and I think I’ll take them with me forever.”
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