Molinari’s read for big Ryder test
Edoardo and Francesco Molinari will put their fierce soccer rivalry to one side at Celtic Manor this week.
Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari will put their fierce soccer rivalry to one side at Celtic Manor this week when they tee it up in the Ryder Cup.
Juventus fan Edoardo and Inter Milan supporter Francesco are set to become the first brothers to represent Europe in golf’s showpiece team event – and the first to take on the United States since Bernhard and Geoffrey Hunt represented Great Britain and Ireland in 1963.
Europe captain Colin Montgomerie hopes it can be a match made in heaven as his team strive to regain the trophy lost in Louisville, Kentucky two years ago.
It has been clearly stated that the Molinari double act will be seen in action at some point on Friday or Saturday.
“Yes, we will be playing them together, that’s obvious,” said Montgomerie. “When and where is up to us, but they will be playing together, and they really do look forward to it.
“And it’s great to see the first brother relationship that has played in our European team. I wish them well, and I do think they will do very well.”
The Ryder Cup rookies, who won golf’s World Cup for Italy last November and attended the same Turin school as Azzurri soccer legends Dino Zoff and Marco Tardelli, are ready to deliver against the United States.
“Usually, both of us are quite calm and cool under pressure, so there is really not much we do with each other or we say to each other,” said 29-year-old Edoardo.
“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 is always a great help to be playing alongside him.
“Francesco and I would be an obvious partnership, but I think any of the other 10 guys on the team will be a good partner.
“We get along very well with each other since we were starting to play golf when we were 10, 11 years old, but obviously there was a little bit of competition and rivalry with each other.
“But I think it has been 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 are here this week – both of us.”
While Francesco, two years Edoardo’s junior, qualified for the European team on merit, Edoardo was one of Montgomerie’s three wildcard picks alongside Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald.
“Maybe it’s weird to say, but it feels quite normal to be here together,” said London-based Francesco.
“We’ve had a steady improvement during our careers. We got here step by step, but I almost expected my brother to be here, and I guess it was the same for him.
“I guess everyone who has been involved with us throughout our careers is really proud that we are here, and obviously it’s quite big news – two brothers playing in the Ryder Cup.
“I live in London and Edoardo lives in Italy, so we don’t spend a lot of time together.
“But when we are out on tour, yeah, we hang out together during the night and have drinks together, so this week it feels like we are back home a little bit.”
And since winning the World Cup – they defeated an Irish team of their Ryder Cup team-mates Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy – they have driven Italian golf’s profile sky-high.
“There is definitely more of a buzz and more journalists asking you for interviews,” said Edoardo.
“It’s hopefully changing quickly, and the next few years it will do so more and more.
“We get a few pages in the newspapers as well, not only in the sports papers, but also in the daily newspapers. It’s definitely something that didn’t happen a few years ago.”
Soccer is never far away from the Molinaris’ sporting agenda though, with Edoardo a good friend of former Juventus player Pavel Nedved.
“I played golf with Pavel last week, and then we went at night to watch a football game together,” added Edoardo.
“He’s a guy that not only is a great person, but a great athlete. He had a great work ethic, and it’s something that I always look up to and try to do the same.”
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