Holidays together in the Caribbean. Hugging it out in Dubai. Waking up next to each other in Paris. Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood have shown over the past year they are a match made in heaven.
In honour of Valentine’s Day, we take a look back at how they became golf’s greatest bromance, both on and off the course.
Throughout their careers on the European Tour 36 year old Molinari and 28 year old Fleetwood have been best friends.
In fact, following their outstanding performance in last year’s Ryder Cup – where the pair won four points from four matches – it was revealed they had formed a plan to play with one another while on a beach in the Bahamas with their wives Clare and Valentina.
“We were actually on holiday in the Bahamas together when we started talking about The Ryder Cup,” said Fleetwood. “We were more than likely going to play the first day and then it was down to us to play well together. And we were a perfect match in the end.”
A perfect match indeed. The dynamic duo brushed aside everything the United States sent their way to become the first European pair to earn a maximum of four points in a single Ryder Cup.
Not only were they dominant on the course, but after every match they played together each were quick to pay homage to one another. Post-round interviews included such quotes as “he’s amazing,” “he’s one of my best friends, not just on Tour but in life” and “I just love him.”
Following a night of celebrations, Moliwood even ended up sharing a bed, with a shirtless Fleetwood sleeping beside his close pal, who was cradling The Ryder Cup trophy.
This love affair isn’t just a case of one night in Paris, though. While splits in the U.S. team became public, Moliwood went from strength to strength, and at the WGC-HSBC Champions one month on from Le Golf National Molinari was asked to describe Fleetwood in three words.
He only needed one. "Love," he answered.
“Yeah,” he continued, before adding, “Hair. And humour. But love first.”
When asked the same question two days later Fleetwood also gave a glowing review of his mate:
“Beautiful Italian man,” he said.
Even a rivalry at the tail-end of last season couldn’t derail their friendship. Going into the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – the final event of the 2018 season – Molinari sat in first place in the Race to Dubai, with Fleetwood hot on his heels in second.
Would he be mad if he was beaten by his long-haired friend?
“I know we’re going to sound really cheesy, but if I don’t win I’d rather see him [Fleetwood] win than anyone else,” Molinari said. “We really are good friends and to think that he comes here still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“For me it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
As it happened Molinari took home the Race to Dubai crown, and it was Fleetwood who was one of the first to congratulate him.
Following the completion of the first chapter of Moliwood’s Ryder Cup love story in 2018, we expect many more to be written over the coming years.