McIlroy eager to play with British Open champion Molinari in Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods was not happy on the 18th hole when a spectator shouted out during his tee shot. Getty Images

Without a bogey in his last two rounds on the windswept Scottish links, Molinari was a worthy victor who arrived at Carnoustie with two victories and two seconds in his past five starts this season.

Reputed to be the toughest links in golf, especially in the 20 miles per hour gusts that finally arrived Sunday, Molinari stopped playing the Dunhill Links Championship because that one stop on the three-course rotation ate him up.

"If someone was expecting a charge, they probably weren't expecting it from me", he said.

"I've played with him at the Ryder Cup and many events before", he said.

Number of bogeys Francesco Molinari made in his final 37 holes, almost unthinkable given the pitfalls that await during every trip 'round Carnoustie, among the hardest links courses in the world. "In the beginning of the year, if you had said, 'You'll be playing in the Open Championship, ' I would have said, you know, 'I'll be very lucky to do that'".

"Only one guy out of 156 is going to win, 155 other guys are going to leave a little disappointed".

Then something fantastic by today's standards happened: Woods teed off and started putting together a great final round, and others started falling off. Improbably, Woods found himself someplace he hadn't for quite some time. When he rolled in the putt the Claret Jug was his.

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He has also won the FA Cup (2011) and League Cup (2014, 2016, 2018) medals during his time in England. "It is business. We pray before the game that there would be no injuries and that's what happened".

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McIlroy was left to wonder what might have been after settling for pars on the last four holes but he feels his game is now in good shape. "He knows how hard I've been working to get here, so I think he felt the same proudness that I felt".

"To go the weekend bogey free, it's unthinkable, to be honest".

The 24-year-old from California kept playing with a smile on his face despite finding himself, as he described it, "in the strangest spots possible on the golf course" with playing partner Spieth. I play my best golf. Woods hit a tee shot out-of-bounds on the 16th hole and tied for fifth. With a long eagle putt on the 14th hole, Rory McIlroy tied for the pack and the lead that crowd roaring.

"There's going to be a lot of European guys vying for his partnership in the foursomes at the Ryder Cup, that's for sure".

"He's always been a great player", McIlroy said.

With a brilliant birdie at the last, 35-year-old Molinari's eight-under 72-hole total of 276 eclipsed Padraig Harrington's Carnoustie tournament record score from 2007 by a stroke and kept some of the sport's biggest names at bay.

If the prospect of Tiger Woods playing a round of golf while decked out in his Sunday best (the inevitable black pants/red Nike polo ensemble) translates to ratings gold, NBC was doubly blessed by a stacked field. "It gives me a lot of encouragement going into the final major of the year (at next month's U.S. PGA)".

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