Molinari Brothers Ready to Make History

By Rich LernerSeptember 29, 2010, 6:18 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – The golfing Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco, are driven to be successful in a way that the football throwing Manning brothers certainly understand.

“How do you say this?” asks Edoardo, at 29 older by two years. “It’s very – I mean, it’s something that you really want to be; you want to be better than your brother.”

For the moment, Edoardo at 15th in the world is slightly ahead of Francesco at 32nd.  Together, they’re reining World Cup champions and now the first Continental European brothers to compete in a Ryder Cup.

Edoardo and Francesco Molinari
Edoardo (left) and Francesco Molinari pose with the Ryder Cup trophy. (Getty Images)
“It’s great for Italian golf and Italian sports in general,” says Francesco. “To have two guys here is something that only a few years ago was almost unthinkable.”

Twelve Italian newspapers have been credentialed since the brothers made the team. A nation focused on soccer suddenly bitten by the golf bug, Italy last basked in Ryder Cup glory in 1997 when Costantino Rocca famously beat Tiger Woods in Ryder Cup singles in 1997.

The Molinaris idolized Rocca growing up in Turin, home to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. There they followed their father to the local golf course.  

“We get along very well with each other since we were starting to play golf when we were 10, 11 years old,” says Edoardo.

“But obviously there was a little bit of competition and rivalry between each other. But I think it’s done very good for us, because when you see your brother playing better, you want to improve and you want to catch him. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re here this week, both of us.”

Edoardo first put the Molinaris on the map in 2005 when he became the first Italian to win a U.S. Amateur Championship. That landed the brothers at the 2006 Masters, Edoardo as competitor and Francesco as his caddie. They played the first two days alongside Woods.

“I got to watch Tiger and the best in the world,” remembers Francesco. “That gave me a lot of motivation to improve and get there one day.”

Francesco’s career as a caddie thankfully was short lived. A month after that Masters, Francesco won the Italian Open, the first native in 26 years to do so.

Meanwhile, Edoardo remained an amateur, completing a college degree in engineering. He turned pro later in 2006, steadily climbing until his breakthrough in 2009. A year ago, he dominated the Challenge Tour and won the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan. He also finished second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

This past summer a third-round 63 propelled him to victory at the Barclays Scottish Open. Later he won the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles with three sconsecutive birdies to close when anything less than a win would have opened the door for European Ryder cup captain Colin Montgomerie to choose another player.   

Clearly, Edoardo’s not lacking for confidence. Before he was selected by Monty he predicted that he and his brother would go unbeaten if he were chosen.

And what was Francesco’s reaction to his brother’s bold shot?  

“That he was mad,” he cracked, the press room erupting in laughter. “I guess he was trying desperately to make the team and he did great in doing that.”

Edoardo’s the putter, Francesco the ball striker, together a good fit.

“We played a lot of foursomes as amateurs” recalls Edoardo. “We played a few times the St. Andrews Trophy and the European Team Championship. But still our games are quite different so I think also in fourballs we can win points.”

Ken Schofield, Golf Channel analyst, says there is considerable pressure on the brothers.

“Yes they did win the World Cup,” explains Schofield, “but this is a Ryder Cup.”

“They can give Monty great momentum. On the other hand if they go down where do they go?”

“Of course, with the pressure there’s also great pride,” adds Schofield. “They’re not just representing the Ryder Cup team but golf in Italy, today and tomorrow.”

“We are quite calm and cool under pressure,” says Edoardo. “So there’s not really much we do with each other or we say to each other. 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.”

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.