Different in temperament Molinaris quite a team

By Associated PressSeptember 29, 2010, 12:25 am

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Francesco is the quiet one. Edoardo tends to be a little more boisterous.

Francesco is a ball-striking machine. Edoardo prefers to scramble his way around the course with the wedge and the putter.

Together, the Molinari brothers perfectly mesh.

While there’s still plenty of intrigue surrounding the Ryder Cup, this much is certain: The Italian duo will surely be paired for the Europeans when play begins Friday at Celtic Manor.

“Maybe it’s weird to say, but it feels quite normal to be here together,” Francesco said Tuesday after a practice round – where, of course, he was joined by Edoardo. “I almost expected my brother to be here, and I guess it was the same for him.”

They have an impressive record as teammates, knocking off the favored Irish squad of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy at last year’s World Cup.

But there’s plenty of sibling rivalry between the Molinaris.

“It’s been very good for us, because when you see your brother playing better, you want to improve and you want to catch him,” Edoardo said. “I think that’s one of the reasons we’re here this week, both of us.

They’ve certainly taken different paths to Wales, and we’re not just talking about where they live (Edoardo still resides in their hometown of Turin; Francesco has moved to London) or their conflicting Italian soccer loyalties (Edoardo cheers for the local favorites, Juventus; Francesco prefers Inter Milan).

At 27, Francesco is the younger one by nearly two years, yet he turned pro first, launching a career that has been steady and persistent. In 2006, he became the first home winner of the Italian Open in 26 years. By 2009, he had cracked the top 50 in the world rankings. This year, he claimed one of nine automatic spots on the Ryder Cup team.

Edoardo burst on the scene in 2005 by becoming the first player from the European continent to win the U.S. Amateur. That earned him a spot in the Masters, where he played with his little brother on the bag.

Then came a wrist injury. Edoardo’s world ranking plunged into the 700s and he was demoted to the European Tour’s second division in 2009. After a swing change, he won three times on the Challenge Tour (including the Kazakhstan Open). Before the year was done, he had captured a prestigious event in Japan and paired with his brother to give Italy its first world team championship.

Still, it looked as though Francesco would be the only Molinari to make the Ryder Cup team. European captain Colin Montgomerie had a wealth of players for his three wild-card picks, including Top 10-ranked Paul Casey and Justin Rose, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year.

Edoardo would not be denied, especially knowing his little brother already had made the team.

“Obviously, when you are behind and you want to catch up, you have to do something,” he said. “It’s something that you really want to be. You want to be better than your brother.”

At the final event before Monty filled out his squad, Molinari birdied the last three holes to win the Johnny Walker Championship by a single stroke. The captain gushed that he had “not seen a finish of that quality by anyone in such a pressure situation” in his 24 years on the European Tour. Edoardo, he added, was just “the type of player we need to regain this Ryder Cup.”

Casey and Rose were passed over. A second Molinari joined the team.

Together again, brothers in clubs.

“It’s not easy when you play with your brother, because in some ways you obviously want to beat him,” Francesco said. “It’s a bit of a conflict.”

The Molinaris are the first set of Ryder Cup brothers since Bernard and Geoff Hunt competed in 1963 for the British team, a precursor to the European squad.

The only other siblings to play together were the Whitcombes – Charles and Ernest were members of the British team in 1929 and ’31, and they were joined by a third brother, Reg, on the ’35 squad.

Up to now, though, Charles and Ernest are the only brothers to be paired together. They teamed up for a foursomes match in 1935 – and won.

Montgomerie is clearly looking for more than one point out of the brothers.

“It’s obvious that you might see the Molinaris playing together,” the captain said shortly after arriving in Wales. “I don’t think that would shock anybody, so I might as well tell you right now.”

Golf is an individual game at heart, so the Molinaris often appear to be doing their own thing even when they’re playing together. Yet there’s an unspoken bond, a sense of partnership that may be acknowledged with nothing more than a subtle nod or a quick glance.

“We are usually, both of us, quite calm and cool under pressure, so there’s not really much we do with each other or we say to each other,” Edoardo said. “But obviously, in case you get a little bit too tense or too nervous, you know that your brother is always there to try and help you. It’s always a great help to be playing alongside him.”

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.