Francesco Molinari splits with his long-time caddie, will employ Mark Fulcher next year


Former Open champion Francesco Molinari has parted ways with caddie Pello Iguaran and will begin next year with a familiar face on the bag, veteran looper Mark Fulcher, he announced on Thursday.

Molinari and Iguaran were together the last four years, during which time the 36-year-old Italian enjoyed a breakout season in 2018 with three worldwide wins, including the Open Championship at Carnoustie and the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship. He followed that with a 5-0 record at the Ryder Cup to help lead the Europeans to a blowout victory in Paris.

This year, Molinari won at Bay Hill and was in the lead on the back nine of the Masters before finding the water on the 12th and again on the 15th and eventually fading to a tie for fifth.

Since then, Molinari has failed to register a top 10. Last week, he missed the cut at the Italian Open.

“It’s been nearly four seasons of incredible emotions and really productive work, but unfortunately relationships sometimes come to an end, even if it’s not what we wish for,” Molinari said in a Tweet. “Pello will always be a member of my team and more importantly my family. He’s one of the most hardworking, loyal, positive, reflective people I’ve come across during my career.

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“We’ve had both good and tough times on the course, but most importantly we both grew together and as individuals during our time together.”

Molinari, who will turn 37 next month, said that Jason Hempleman will be on the bag through the end of 2019 but that Fulcher, who spent 11 years caddying for former world No. 1 and 2013 U.S. Open champ Justin Rose, will take over beginning next year.

Fulcher was sidelined earlier this year because of heart surgery but returned to Rose’s bag at the Masters. The two then parted ways in June, with Fulcher saying he was going to focus on his health and well-being. Rose has since added Gareth Lord, who had previously worked for Henrik Stenson.

Molinari will next play in two weeks at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

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