After a season that included a major breakthrough and a piece of Ryder Cup history, Francesco Molinari was named World Sport Star of the Year as part of the annual awards ceremony hosted by the BBC.
Molinari played the best golf of his career at age 35, winning three times around the world: first at the BMW PGA Championship in May, then the Quicken Loans National the following month and The Open in July. He added to his illustrious campaign with a stellar week at the Ryder Cup, teaming with Tommy Fleetwood while becoming the first European to go 5-0 in the biennial matches.
Molinari earned the honors in a public fan vote ahead of American gymnast Simone Biles, Czech skier Ester Ledecka and Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk.
“It’s unreal, to be honest,” Molinari said. “I’m super proud to be here tonight. There are so many inspirational sporting stories. It gives us more motivation for next season.”
Molinari is the first Italian to ever earn the title of World Sport Star of the Year, which is annually awarded to an athlete from outside the U.K., and he’s the first golfer to take the title since Tiger Woods in 2000.