(Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

There was a delicious segue for those in the know when West Ham United fan Francesco Molinari lifted the CLARET Jug after winning the 2018 Open at the weekend.

Molinari hails from Turin in Italy and became the first Italian to ever win a major when he completed a faultless weekend at Carnoustie.

There are no Bow Bells in Molinari’s back story, nor did he grow up mesmerised by the underappreciated (outside West Ham circles at least) silky style of Ian Bishop.

Molinari’s West Ham story is a lot more recent, but no less admirable, after all he can hardly stand accused of being a glory hunter.

Molinari’s Open win has seen his links to West Ham highlighted with congratulations from West Ham, the co-owner David Gold and supporters on social media.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

But just why does the Italian from Turin support this famous East End club with a theme song acknowledging their persistent failings?

“Well I’m a big fan (of West Ham) but I’m quite recent honestly,” Molinari explained on talkSPORT back in 2013.

“I moved to London four years ago (2009) and was looking for an English team to support and Gianfranco Zola was the manager there at the time.

 

“He’s a good friend of mine so there wasn’t any other choice possible really.

“He’s moved moved on since but I’ve stuck by the Hammers, I love the team, I love the atmosphere.”

Molinari also told ESPN that there were other big influences on him choosing West Ham as his club.

“My coach, Denis Pugh, supports them – as do a few other friends of mine in London,” he said back in 2014.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Molinari is not the only golfer with links to the Hammers, though.

Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup captain and long-time European Tour player Paul McGinley is a lifelong Hammer, while two-time senior major winner Roger Chapman has been a fully-fledged member of the Claret and Blue Army since 1966.

Molinari will be hoping West Ham can follow his lead and lift their first major trophy for nearly 40 years this season.

And Hammers fans will surely be laying claim to the Open’s new ‘Claret n Blue Jug’ for the next year to sit alongside the 1966 Jules Rimet in what is starting to look a rather illustrious trophy cabinet.

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