Molinari backs shorts decision for Open practice rounds


Francesco Molinari’s victory at Carnoustie was his first major

Reigning champion Francesco Molinari has backed the decision to allow players to wear shorts in Open Championship practice rounds this year.

The R&A’s move follows sweltering conditions at Carnoustie in last year’s championship, won by the Italian.

The PGA Tour in America made a similar decision earlier this year.

“I don’t see why not to be honest. There are people playing in shorts all around the world,” said the 36-year-old Ryder Cup player.

However, having experienced wet and windy weather at this year’s Open host, Royal Portrush, in the 2012 Irish Open, Molinari is not convinced he will need his shorts in Northern Ireland.

“It might not be a priority in Portrush,” he joked while speaking in a teleconference at a media day at this year’s Open venue.

Competitors in final qualifying will also be able to take advantage of the new shorts rule, while the R&A says it hasn’t ruled out allowing the dress code to be relaxed on extremely hot days at future championships.

While admitting winning The Open saw him achieve his “career dream”, Molinari says he remains hugely committed to continue to improve.

Molinari started the final round three shots behind the overnight leaders at last year’s Open

His victory at this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, thanks to a closing eight-under round, was evidence of his determination to remain at the top.

“I’ve achieved my dream, which was winning The Open last year,” he continued. “Another dream was to be one of the best players at the Ryder Cup and help Europe win the trophy back.

“I’m at the stage where I’ve achieved my dreams and whatever happens now is going to be a bonus. [But] I still have a lot of desire. I just want to win more. I got a taste of it last year and it was great.

“This winter I have worked as hard as I have ever done. You can see the way I’m playing, I didn’t settle, I didn’t stop. The aim is to keep improving and I don’t feel I have reached my limit yet.”

Having putted sensationally to win at Bay Hill last month, Molinari is optimistic about improving on his best finish in next week’s Masters at Augusta, which was a share of 19th in 2012.

“The short game and the putting are the two things that let me down there in the past,” added Molinari.

“Obviously, because of the greens there, that’s one of the biggest challenges but hopefully I will chip better and putt better this year and get a better result.”

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