Francesco Molinari insists he did not have to take a ruthless mindset to deny Tiger Woods a fairytale Open Championship victory.
Woods fans were dreaming of a 15th major triumph when he went into the lead in the final round at Carnoustie as the overnight leaders fell back and he moved to seven under par for the tournament.
However, it was not to be for the American great, who went double bogey-bogey at 11 and 12 and was unable to mount a challenge from there.
By contrast, Molinari was rewarded for a patient approach that returned two birdies and no bogeys as the Italian triumphed by two strokes to win a maiden major title.
Molinari accepted that playing with Woods brings about a different challenge due to the large crowds that follow his rounds, but remained adamant that his only focus was on winning the tournament.
"I don't think it's about being ruthless. Obviously, it's golf. It's sports. We're competing against each other," he said.
"But I was competing against all the other guys as well, not only against him. There was very, very good sportsmanship during the whole round.
"Obviously, he had it going on the front nine, and then, unfortunately, just hit a couple of loose shots on the back nine. It's hard not to pay for missed shots around Carnoustie.
"Playing with Tiger was another challenge because of the crowds and everything. But I felt really good this morning.
"When I came here, I felt I was ready for the challenge. Obviously conscious that it could have gone either way, but I knew I was going to do my best."
Molinari added that he enjoyed the camaraderie with Woods during their round.
"Tiger himself was great. Really good sportsmanship with me," he added.
"I've done it before. I've played with him before in Ryder Cups and in big occasions, so I knew what was coming, and I was ready for it."
19. Dezember 2018
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