Molinari happy to be part of the Hammers family


Ryder Cup-winning golfer Francesco Molinari feels the love of the West Ham family wherever in the world he is playing the game.

The 2018 Open champion has followed the Hammers since making London his home in 2009 and teamed up with skipper Mark Noble at Wednesday’s Pro-Am curtain-raiser to the Sky Sports British Masters at Walton Heath in Surrey.

The Italian is a hugely popular figure on the golf scene and says he runs into West Ham United fans on all stops of the tour – with their support helping drive him on.

He said: “I started following West Ham when I moved to England in 2009. Gianfranco Zola was the manager and we’re quite good friends, so I started following him and getting to know more about the club. I just kept following them from there.

“At most of the tournaments you see Hammers fans. They’re everywhere so it’s nice to be part of the Hammers family.

“It was great to play with Mark. He hit some decent shots – it wasn’t easy with the breeze but the most important thing was to have a nice day. We had fun, it was nice to meet Mark for the first time. Obviously I’ve been following the Hammers for a few years now and it’s nice to meet a club legend like him.

“It was a tough start to the season, but they’ve managed to turn it around. It’s exciting to see the kind of football that the new manager Pellegrini wants to play. They’re trending in the right direction so hopefully a good season ahead."