Molinari rues 2010 WGC HSBC victory ruling

Last week they were hailing Italian Francesco Molinari as the first Italian to win on the US Tour in 71 years.

The first since Naples-born but American raised Toney Penna in 1947.

Francesco Molinari and tournament host Tiger Woods Molinari with what should be his second PGA Tour trophy (Credit PGA Tour)

Yet that was downplaying the World Tour events that have been such a hit world-wide.

Molinari won the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai in 2010, a World Golf Championship event and the biggest win of Molinari’s career.

While his success in winning the Quicken Loans National by eight shots was super-impressive, the Italian has threatened just such a victory for quite some time.

The PGA Tour finally put a WGC event outside the US but it appears they did not recognise the HSBC Champions as an official victory until 2012.

Yet Molinari still received 68 world ranking points and $1.2m.

It even got Molinari to Kapalua, Hawaii a few months later for their Tournament of Champions, reserved for winners on their tour.

And it still bothers Molinari that his win didn’t count as a PGA Tour victory…despite beating Lee Westwood, who was then the No. 1 player in the world.

And for good measure Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson were in the field and Molinari smashed them.

“When everyone was saying I never won on the PGA Tour, I felt like saying, ‘Well, technically, it was pretty much a PGA Tour tournament’,” said Molinari.

“But yeah, it’s just a formality, and I think it’s different anyway to win on US soil. So that win felt special.”

It seems a year after the Italian star’s win, the PGA Tour declared it [the HSBC Champions] would count as official provided a PGA Tour member won.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer won, so it didn’t count.

No doubt the Tour was answering to Americans complaining that it gave international players a quick avenue to a PGA Tour card.

They obviously ignored the fact the winner beat some of the strongest fields in world golf.

Ian Poulter won in 2012 and it did count as a PGA Tour victory.

Since then Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Russell Knox, Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose have won the event.

And, yes, all were PGA Tour members.