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One World Cup and a British Open

Filed: Monday, 23rd July 2018
By: Staff Writer

It is of course a well-known fact that without the intervention of West Ham United's finest, England would never have won the World Cup in 1966.

But not content with having a major stake in England's finest hour on a field of sport, the Hammers can now boast a (tenuous) claim to Golf's British Open - thanks to this year's winner Francesco Molinari.

For the 35-year-old Italian winner at Carnoustie on Sunday is a self-confessed football fanatic, who lists his two favourites teams as Inter and West Ham on his Twitter bio page.

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And it has since been revealed that the new Open champion was turned on to West Ham following the appointment of former Italian international legend Gianfranco Zola, who managed United between 2009 and 2011.

"When I moved to London I was looking for an English team to support," said Molinari. "Zola was the manager [of West Ham]. He is a good friend of mine and there was no other choice. He has moved on since but I have stuck with the Hammers."

Molinari, who moved to London in the same year that Zola was appointed as manager of West Ham revealed how his compatriot helped him overcome nervousness and ease the pressure of playing in major events.

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"We talked about the Ryder Cup and made the comparison that it is like playing in the World Cup for footballers. We were talking about the pressure and how you try to use it to your own advantage.

"It's good to talk to someone who has been in a similar position where the world will be watching you."

The Italian won the 2018 British Open by two shots on Sunday afternoon, ending the tournament on -8 and two shots clear of his closest rivals, England's Justin Rose and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

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