ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI | They are the best pair of golfing brothers in the world. The Molinaris, from Turin, are the sons of a dentist, and while one, Edoardo, won the US Amateur, the first European to do so for a century, and can recite a deck of cards from memory and supports Juventus, the Turin team, the other cheers for Inter-Milan, hits the ball straighter and misses a lot of putts and is the new Open champion which might trump everything his brother has achieved.
There you have them – the golfing Molinaris, who sound like a circus act – but who are anything but. They both played in Europe’s winning 2010 Ryder Cup team and Francesco played in the winning 2012 Ryder Cup team, too. So, two brothers, three Ryder Cup appearances, no defeats. Not bad statistics.
“He (Edoardo) has always been better at putting and at chipping in general and probably playing with a bit more flair than me” said Francesco, at 35 the younger by 22 months. “I’ve always been more consistent, hitting more straight shots with less shape and missing putts.
“But things change through the years and I was lucky enough to improve. Character-wise we’re both quiet and we enjoy to spend time with the family and we’re quite simple people, really. We don’t need much to be happy.
“He’s more of a mathematician. He loves stats and he loves numbers. I’m a bit more laid back.”
Much was made in the Open at Carnoustie in July of Molinari’s feat of playing his last hole in Friday’s second round and the next 36 holes without a bogey on his card. It sort of knocked Nick Faldo’s 18 consecutive pars to win the 1987 Open at Muirfield into a cocked hat. And of playing the last round with Tiger Woods and, midway through the round, seeing the American briefly take the lead, which seemed to send the spectators scrambling around Carnoustie into ecstasies.
“That was part of the challenge,” Molinari said in his calm voice. “I think … for me it was harder to stay focused on my things on the front nine when he was making a run at it and making birdies and obviously the crowd was getting excited. So I did very well to stick to my plan to try to make pars on the front nine. On the back nine he obviously dropped a couple of shots and I found myself in the lead.”
That is Francesco, a calm, quietly spoken Italian, who is the only man in the field at the PGA at St Louis who can win the last two major championships of the year. Will he do so? He is certainly capable of it. He showed a resolve and level of skill at Carnoustie that had not been seen before. But will he do it? That is another question.