Francesco Molinari has "low expectations" for his return to golf this week

Francesco Molinari returns to the action on the PGA Tour this week, although he has low expectations of his performance.

Jack Seddon's picture
Thu, 8 Oct 2020
Francesco Molinari has "low expectations" for his return to golf this week

Francesco Molinari returns to the PGA Tour for this week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, but the Italian has "low expectations" of his performance leading up to the Masters in November.

The 2018 Open champion hasn't played on the PGA Tour since March, when The Players Championship was cancelled after the opening round and since then Molinari's focus has been elsewhere.

Molinari spent his summer relocating from London to California with his family, something that was made a lot more difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In March 2019, Molinari won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and was ranked 6th in the world, but due to his lack of form last year and his extensive time off, the Italian has now falled to 73rd, but the 37-year-old has no regrets in putting his family before his career.

"The situation with COVID kind of made us think about our set-up, and when it happened I was over here in Florida, my wife was in London and both our of families were in Italy," Molinari said. "So you ask yourself a few questions, and we just decided to make the move.

"Obviously it's not an easy thing to do in general, and it's even harder to do in these circumstances, but we're now happy to be here. We're probably not settled yet; we flew over in mid-July and spent some time in San Francesco but in the end decided to move down to Los Angeles.

"I would say not only in career-wise, it's obviously more of a family decision in the end, a life decision. When my wife and I moved to London 12 or 13 years ago, obviously we had no kids. It's a bit different when you do before kids. Now there are a lot more moving parts, I guess.

"But I think it's worth a shot. I want to try and achieve as many things as possible in let's say the second part of my career. My wife is supportive of that, and obviously she's probably the one I guess in the toughest spot because she's even further away from her family and friends."

Following this week's action, Molinari will be playing in the Housten Open, followed by the Masters, although due to his lack of practice, the Ryder Cup star isn't expecting much in terms of performance.

"I've been playing probably as little golf as ever in my life," he added. "I was practising in London before the move, and then I took a break when we physically moved over. That's why I'm saying I've got pretty low expectations for this week. I'm definitely far away from where I want to be physically, mentally, technically in the long-term.

"But it's nice to be back and it's the start of the process, I guess. I'm looking forward to playing a lot more golf in the coming weeks."

Aasked whether or not he will be 100% ready for the Masters in November, Molinari said: "I don't know, we have to see. I think, no, to be honest. Probably I will need an extra month or so. My goal mentally really is to be 100 per cent for January next year. Anything that comes before then in this period of time, it's kind of a bonus.

"I don't know, it's all new for me. Luckily I've never had injuries or big injuries in my career so I never had such a long break from the game, so it's all kind of new and exciting. This week obviously going to be pretty important to see how I react under pressure after such a long break. It will kind of dictate what I do between now and Augusta.

"But I'm not expecting to be 100 per cent ready for Augusta, no."

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