Europe’s Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari has revealed he was carrying a back injury during his record-breaking performance at Le Golf National in September.
Molinari became only the second player in the tournament’s current format to win a perfect five points from his five matches as Europe defeated the United States 17½-10½ in France.
The Italian also made history alongside Tommy Fleetwood by becoming the first European pair to win all four of their ties, but Molinari admitted ahead of the British Masters on Wednesday that he was aware of back pain throughout the Ryder Cup weekend, and decided not to tell European captain Thomas Bjorn.
“I started to feel it on the Saturday morning at the Ryder Cup,” Molinari said. “It’s because of having a really long summer and not having much rest between Atlanta [the Tour Championship] and the start of the Ryder Cup, and it was just getting tired.
“I didn’t tell Thomas. At that stage it wasn’t enough to really compromise my golf. So I just started taking some anti-inflammatories. It’s a week that you’re sort of pumped up with adrenaline, anyway, that you could probably play on one leg.
“On Monday I couldn’t do my shoelaces. I’m not a kid like Tommy. I need to manage my energies and my body.”
The opening day of the British Masters on Thursday will once again see Molinari and Fleetwood paired together on the course, although this time as direct competitors.
Molinari and Fleetwood are currently first and second respectively in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, which was won by Fleetwood last year.
“It’s funny that of all people, he’s the one right behind me,” Molinari said. “But I need to focus on what I’m doing and I might not talk to him and give him a cold shoulder and see how he takes it.
“We can still celebrate each other’s success but it will be different. It’s back to normal, really. The Ryder Cup is a different one. This is what we do week in and week out, and we’re still going to be friends.
“We’re still going to go out for dinner one of these nights, and yeah, I still need to try and beat him to stay ahead in the Race to Dubai.”