Friday 19 April 2019

McIlroy: 'Francesco and Tommy have got awfully close but I don't know what's going to happen between them tonight'

Europe's Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate
Europe's Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate

Sam Roberts

Rory McIlroy has jokingly hinted that he doesn't know "what is going to happen tonight" between Europe's star pairing Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood after their famous victory in Paris.

The pairing, dubbed 'Moliwood' by fans, were the stand-out performers on the European team as they won all four of their matches together over the weekend.

Europe won back the Ryder Cup with a comprehensive victory over the United States at Le Golf National in Paris on Sunday.

Thomas Bjorn's men retained the trophy they lost at Hazeltine Golf Club in 2016 with a resounding triumph over the much-fancied Americans.

Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018. Team Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates with spectators after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Carl Recine
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018. Team Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates with spectators after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Carl Recine
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018. Team Europe's Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Team Europe's Jon Rahm (left) celebrates after Europe win the Ryder Cup during the Singles match on day three of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018. Team Europe's Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 - Team Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Team Europe's Ian Poulter celebrates in fancy dress after winning the Ryder Cup
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018. Team Europe's Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 - Team Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates with Ian Poulter after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Team Europe's Sergio Garcia (left) and Ian Poulter celebrate after Europe win the Ryder Cup during the Singles match on day three of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 Team Europe's Ian Poulter and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Team Europe's Justin Rose takes a selfie with fans after his side win the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Team Europe's Justin Rose takes a selfie with fans after his side win the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018. Team Europe's Ian Poulter takes selfies with Jon Rahm as they wait for the presentation after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Team Europe's Tommy Fleetwood celebrates during the Singles match on day three of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 Team Europe's Tommy Fleetwood celebrates after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 - Team Europe captain Thomas Bjorn holds the trophy as they celebrate after winning the Ryder cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Team Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates winning the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 - Team Europe's Rory McIlroy celebrates with fans after winning the Ryder cup REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
Team Europe's (top row, from the left to right) Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Sergio Garcia, captain Thomas Bjorn, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, Francesco Molinari (bottom row, from left to right) Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Thorbjorn Olesen, Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey celebrate with the Ryder Cup on day three of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 - Team Europe captain Thomas Bjorn lifts the trophy as they celebrate after winning the Ryder cup REUTERS/Paul Childs
Team Europe's Rory McIlroy (centre) celebrates during the Singles match on day three of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Team Europe's (left-right) Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose celebrate after the Singles match on day three of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.
Team Europe celebrate with their wives, girlfriends and the Ryder Cup trophy on day three of the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 30, 2018. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Written editorial use only. No commercial use.

And when asked what celebrations the team had in store after their famous victory, McIlroy jokingly suggested that the chemistry between 'Moliwood' was as strong off the course as it is on it.

"I don't know, I mean Francesco and Tommy have got awfully close this week but I don't know what's going to happen between them tonight," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

The Northern Irishman went on to hail the tight-knit nature of the European team and said the time spent together as a group is memorable regardless of the outcome.

"It's been incredible, the atmosphere has been fantastic. Even after the loss at Hazeltine we had a good time on Sunday night because it's the last time we're all going to be together for a while, so this one will be extra special.

"We thought this course would suit us, it would suit our style of game and it's worked out that way," McIlroy added.

Molinari said: "It means so much, more than majors, more than anything. It's hard not to get emotional.

joyyyyyy.jpg
francesco Molinari of Europe celebrates winning The Ryder Cup with members of the European team

"They had probably the strongest team ever and we were just so good, it is unreal.

"I just tried to do things well and be professional. Today it was hard to get the energy but I stepped it up when I had to."

Stenson closed out at a 5&4 victory over Watson to take Europe to 15 and a half to nine and a half.

Captain's pick Garcia won his match 2&1 on the 17th and looked to the sky before being overcome with emotion, hugging wife Angela.

In securing the victory he became the all-time Ryder Cup leading points scorer with 25 and a half points, eclipsing Sir Nick Faldo's record.

"I don't usually cry but today I couldn't help it. What a week," said Garcia.

"It has been a rough year but we fought hard and I'm so thankful for Thomas for picking me and believing in me. I am so happy to get the cup back."

On his record the Spaniard added: "It means a lot but at the end of the day it's about the team and I was happy I was able to help with some of the points I won.

"It's a bonus, something I never thought I'd have the possibility of doing it but these guys are unbelievable.

"A lot of people thought the Ryder Cup was over before it was played. I guess unfortunately they picked the wrong team."

Hatton's match against Reed finished in a 3&2 defeat, leaving just Noren out on the course one up against DeChambeau.

Fleetwood, who was part of Europe's star pair with Molinari, paid tribute to his partner.

"It couldn't have gone any better. Frankie (Molinari) is unbelievable," he said.

"He is one good golfer and he deserves all the credit he gets. It was fitting he hit the winning shot as well."

Poulter justified Bjorn's wild card selection with his crucial win over Johnson.

YDERCUP (1513).jpg
Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018. Team Europe's Ian Poulter takes selfies with Jon Rahm as they wait for the presentation after winning the Ryder Cup REUTERS/Paul Childs

"That little gold trophy burns pretty hard inside. That kept me going. I wanted to be here in Paris. I knew it would be extra special if I made it," he said.

"I had to rely on a pick from Thomas. To get that pick, to come out today and turn that match around down the stretch and deliver a point is something I am never going to forget. I don't think I can quantify how much it means. You see it in the emotion when we hole putts and the emotion of the fans.

"To be able to represent Europe is extra special. To win this thing back is even more special."

Noren, one up playing the last, was facing losing the hole after DeChambeau hit his approach within 18 inches but the Swede sank a superb 30ft putt for an equalling birdie to win one up.

Europe finished 17 and a half to 10 and a half victors.

Additional reporting from PA

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