Francesco Molinari’s breakout 2018 will forever be remembered for his final round Open precision. Paired with Tiger Woods, Molinari never wilted on an unrelenting Carnoustie that exposed the slightest mistakes.
Yet as Sean Martin notes in this PGATour.com look at Molinari’s numbers, a sacrifice of some accuracy for distance gained through a combination of fitness and fitting allowed Francesco to pick up enough off the tee to make huge leaps.
His tee shots covered 64 percent of the yardage on par-4s and par-5s this season. That's nearly 5 percent more than three seasons ago. He ranked 27th in that statistic in 2018 after ranking 168th (out of 184 players) in 2015.
That’s pretty amazing. So was this after his fitting work with Taylor Made and fitness came together. The numbers don’t lie:
In May 2018, he was up to 114 and 169 mph. He was now carrying the ball nearly 290 yards, more than 25 yards longer than that October 2016 testing session.
Molinari’s story is even more fascinating given what an established player he was and what a bold move he made given the number of players who have tried to pick up distance and lost their games. Best of all he did it through a combination of art, science and hard work. Given the direction of the game toward a speed emphasis at younger ages, Molinari may be one of the last we’ll see to make such a big mid-career adjustment.