Molinari said: 'It's wonderful to stand here with the Claret Jug, when you look at the names on the trophy, what can I say?
But here's where we take a deep breath.
Imagine typing those words three months ago. Playing a major, let alone contending in one, seemed like a reasonable goal. Hopefully, there were a lot of young kids watching on TV today, like I was watching Costantino coming so close.
But success at this Open, on the toughest links in the rota?
"Just need to play some cleaner golf, and who knows?" he shrugged. One day after a bogey-free round of 65 to share the lead, he had a birdie-free round at the worst time.
Tiger Woods of the United States speaks to the media during practice rounds prior to THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 8, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Molinari broke out of the pack with his first birdie of the day on the par-five 14th and up ahead McIlroy had to settle for joining Rose in the clubhouse lead after failing to birdie the last.
Three players - including defending champion Jordan Spieth - are tied at the top of the leaderboard at 9-under par.
Earlier in the day, Woods had every reason to believe he would cap a most unbelievable comeback. Schauffele has two holes remaining.
But Woods would not go there, saying, "I did everything the way I thought I needed to do it to win the championship. I've done it so many different ways", he added.
Francesco Molinari wins Claret Jug on day of drama at Carnoustie
Woods marched grim-faced to the bridge, never turning around to acknowledge his playing partner's finishing blow. So did Woods. "It didn't feel any different to be next to the lead and knowing what I needed to do", he said.
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But perhaps it's no coincidence that once Woods took the lead for the first time, he frittered it away nearly immediately.
Woods then found himself in the lead in the middle of his round as the leaders shed shots all over the place but from that tantalising high his game began to falter visiting the sand on three successive holes from the eighth to the tenth. On Sunday, he drove into thick fescue on 11, then rocketed his second shot into the crowd, the ball ricocheting off a fan's shoulder, and then another's iPhone, and settling in more hay. He followed that with a bogey and never caught up.
Molinari is the first Italian with his name on the claret jug. "Even though he's won 14, you have to learn how to get back".
"He chipped it beautifully", Woods said about his playing partner.
"Oh, it was a blast", Woods would say afterward.
A victory would complete a most remarkable comeback for Woods, who has had four back surgeries, a marital scandal and a DUI arrest since his last major.
While Scott lamented his closing 2-over 73, Day's 3-under 68 - the second-lowest round of the day - came too little too late. Woods is 15 months removed from a fourth back surgery on an already brittle body; Williams almost secured the most prestigious championship in tennis less than a year after suffering serious complications during childbirth.
"She'll probably call me and talk to me about it because you've got to put things in perspective", Woods said.
"I know it's going to sting for a little bit here, but given where I was to where I am now, I feel blessed", he said.
"It felt great to be a part of the mix and build my way into the championship".
"I'd just want one shot back. It's such a great feeling". But this being golf, all attention must turn to Woods. He also ended as runner-up in the other two tournaments.