Francesco Molinari named 2018 Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year


Francesco Molinari has been named as the 2018 Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year 

The reigning Open and Race to Dubai Champion was named by a panel comprising of members of the golfing media, capping off an impressive 12 months for the European No.1. 

In that span, Molinari claimed his first Rolex Series title at the BMW PGA Championship, got his first win on the PGA Tour, became the first Italian major champion at the 147th Open Championship, won the Race to Dubai and made European Ryder Cup history by becoming the first person to win 5/5 matches.

"It is a huge honour to be named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year," said Molinari, who received the award on Monday at the London Hilton on Park Lane. "So many great names have earned this honour and I feel very proud to join them.

"It is an award that means a lot to me and is a nice way to end a very special year. Winning at Wentworth, in one of our biggest events, gave me a lot of confidence for the summer, but obviously winning The Open at Carnoustie, becoming my country's first Major Champion, was incredible.

"To then go on to win the Race to Dubai and be part of that European Ryder Cup team in France was amazing. I'll always look back on this season and be proud of what happened."

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour, said: "There is so much to celebrate after another fantastic season on the European Tour which saw so many of our Members excel on the global stage and 12 in particular during a spectacular Ryder Cup in France.

"But it is right that we pay special tribute to Francesco Molinari who repeatedly made history this year.

"Francesco is not just a phenomenal golfer, he is a wonderful person too and throughout this season he consistently reminded us what a magnificent ambassador he is for our game. He is a thoroughly deserving winner of the 2018 Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year award."

Iain Carter, BBC Golf Correspondent, who was part of the panel, said: "The list of monthly winners and nominees for this year's award shows the depth in talent and nationalities on the European Tour. Matt Wallace made a compelling argument with three victories and Patrick Reed also merited massive consideration after winning the Masters, but Francesco Molinari's story in 2018 was absolutely outstanding.

"To win at Wentworth, then lift the Claret Jug at Carnoustie, and then back that up by winning five points at The Ryder Cup and win the Race to Dubai is up there as one of the great years in European golf.

"Francesco has always been one of Europe's elite players, but in 2018 he became a global superstar and separated himself from his peers."

Fellow panelist Nick Dougherty, Sky Sports Golf Presenter, said: "There were many stand-out performances on the European Tour in 2018, including Oli Fisher's historic 59, Tommy Fleetwood's 63 in the final round of the US Open and Matt Wallace's victory in Denmark when trying to earn a Ryder Cup wildcard.

"But they all pale into insignificance compared to Francesco's performance under pressure at Carnoustie. That felt special, particularly his putt on the 18th when you look at who he was playing with.

"He also won at Wentworth, which is massive when you look at the list of previous winners there, and then he produced that performance at Le Golf National.

"Francesco had a monumental year and he did it all with a smile on his face."