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Molinari: Personal issues helped McIlroy

Alex Perry
May 26, 2014 « Ward and Wawrinka out, Djokovic and Nadal cruise | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
What next for Rory McIlroy?

Francesco Molinari believes Rory McIlroy's off-field problems helped him in his quest to finally win the BMW PGA Championship.

McIlroy began the week by announcing he had broken up with fiancée Caroline Wozniacki. He ended it by coming from seven shots back to triumph at Wentworth - a result that not many would have predicted - not least the man himself.

But his Ryder Cup team-mate Molinari - who halved his singles match with Tiger Woods to complete the 2012 victory dubbed the Miracle at Medinah - says the media circus did McIlroy a favour.

"The media in general - the people who don't play at our level - make a bigger deal out of it," Molinari told ESPN. "But really when you get out on the course you're not thinking about what's going on outside of the ropes.

Francesco Molinari is hoping to continue his consistent season and book a spot at the Ryder Cup © Synergy
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"Everyone has things going on in their private life, whether good or bad, but as a golfer you are 100% committed to the task in hand.

"We play tough golf courses that really demand you're full attention when you're out there - and that's what happened to him. He went out there and focused on each shot, and that will have helped keep his mind off things in his personal life and made him happy."

Opening rounds of 71 and 74 saw Molinari barely scrape inside the cut line at Wentworth, but a seven-under par 65 on Saturday and a solid final-day 70 saw the Italian to a share for seventh place alongside the likes of new world No.2 Henrik Stenson at eight-under.

"In general I'm happy with my performance - particularly after the first two days," Molinari said. "I was a long way back so obviously it was good to make a lot of shots backs and make ground on those up ahead of me. I needed to play better in the first couple of days to really be up there on Sunday.

"It's one of the best - if not the best - tournaments in Europe and one of the best in the world. The event and the venue has a wonderful tradition and it's definitely one I want to win sooner or later."

It was another fine performance by the 31-year-old, whose impressive start to the season has seen him pick up four top 10 finishes - including a tie for sixth at the PGA Tour's flagship event, the Players Championship.

He added: "The main goal is to keep playing the way I'm playing and be as consistent as possible.

"It would be nice after a few good finishes to get a win somewhere. But the only thing I can do is play week-by-week and just try to do my best and put myself in position to get the victory.

"Of course you need a bit of luck to win as well. But especially with it being a Ryder Cup year it's important to be consistent and get result after result and hopefully they will only get better through the year.

"I hope to put myself in contention at the majors, too. If you look at the guys who have won them there are all different kinds of stories; there are guys who have been in contention a few times before winning and guys who have won at their first real chance.

"I don't want to say I will win, but I hope to do well and if I happen to be there on the final day I will do my best to win, if not I will just be happy playing well and getting a good result."

Molinari will attempt to get that first win of the season at this week's Scandinavian Masters before taking a week off ahead of the US Open.

Molinari was speaking on behalf of BMW, official vehicle partner of the Ryder Cup. To be in with a chance to win a VIP trip to Gleneagles, download the live-scoring app Golf GameBook and launch 'BMW Road to Gleneagles 2014'

Francesco Molinari enjoyed a fruitful weekend at the BMW PGA Championship © PA Photos
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Alex Perry is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk. Follow him on Twitter.

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