They became brothers in arms, an Internet sensation sharing joint custody of the delicious label “Moliwood” as they led the European Team to a September Ryder Cup victory in France. But with one tournament remaining in the 2017-’18 Euro Tour season, next week’s DP World Tour Championship, Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood will become rivals in the quest to claim the Race to Dubai title.
As Lee Westwood turned back the clock with his victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday, he prevented challengers Li Haotong (T-5) or Rory McIlroy (T-21) from winning, ending their chances for a miraculous late scramble to grab the Race to Dubai title. Same went for Lucas Bjerregaard (T-11), leaving just Molinari and Fleetwood—neither of whom teed it up in South Africa—with a mathematical chance to claim the year-long title.
In actuality, Molinari has the honor firmly in his grasp. Only a Fleetwood victory in Dubai next Sunday, and Molinari finishing worse than a two-way tie for fifth, would allow last year’s Race to Dubai victor to overtake the Open Championship winner. Anything less means Molinari grabs the honor, thanks to his large lead heading into the Playoff Series.
Indeed, with Molinari ahead by more than 1 million points in the standings, the 36-year-old has been able to sit out the tournaments in Turkey and South Africa the past two weeks and barely see his chances of winning it all impacted. It’s the luxury that comes with having won the tour’s two biggest events—claiming the BMW PGA Championship ahead of his win at Carnoustie. If (or when) Molinari finishes off the job in the desert next week, he’ll become the first Italian to win the European Tour’s coveted year-long title.
We’re guessing that when next week ends, no matter the outcome, Molinari and Fleetwood will be back to being besties. It’s hard to think anything different given the history this golf power couple has.