They were brothers in arms at Celtic Manor in 2010, joining forces to help a European team captained by Colin Montgomerie win the Ryder Cup. At the time, Francesco Molinari was almost in the shadow of his older brother. Having already won the Scottish Open earlier in the year at Loch Lomond, Edoardo secured a wildcard in sensational style by also claiming victory in the final qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
It was a memorable week for the pair in Wales but one that has now been well and truly eclipsed. Francesco, after all, was the star of the show in the latest instalment in the biennial event, earning a place in the record books as he became the first European player to win five points out of five in Europe’s resounding 17½-10½ victory at Le Golf National near Paris on Sunday. Having also won the Open Championship at Carnousite earlier in the year, he’s now very much the Molinari brother in the spotlight. His sibling is delighted about that.
“I am very proud of him and it’s just unbelievable,” said Edoardo, speaking as he prepared to fly the family flag in this week’s Dunhill Links Championship, with Francesco having opted to miss out on the chance of a quick return to Carnoustie, one of the venues for the pro-am event along with Kingsbarns and St Andrews.
“Francesco had been playing very well and it was another great week for him.” There have been lots of them this season. He held off Rory McIlroy to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May before claiming a first PGA Tour title triumph with an eight-shot success in the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac. His Claret Jug victory was claimed playing in the same group as Tiger Woods in the final round.
“Tee-to-green he has always been very good but what has turned around for him this year has been his putting,” added Edoardo, who, at 37, is the elder by two years. “He had always been a poor putter and now all of a sudden he’s a really decent putter. He’s not the best putter, but he’s been holing enough to be in contention nearly every week. It was only a matter of time before he would start making some putts and that is what happened last week.”
Both brothers are a credit to their parents as human beings. “Francesco is never going to change and I saw the press conference the other day and he was as modest, and as low key as I know he can be,” said Edoardo, who is exactly the same. “It is a great quality he possesses.”
And that Ryder Cup bro-mance with Tommy Fleetwood? “They have been good friends for a long time,” he said of that successful partnership last week, the pair winning four times in the pairs format. “Tommy’s game is quite similar and they do complement each other very well and that showed last week.”
Troubled by a wrist injury and then a loss of form, Edoado returned to winning ways in the Hassan Trophy last season. With a Ryder Cup on home soil on the horizon in 2022, that’s quite an incentive. “He [Francesco] is a great inspiration for me to get back playing to a level I know I can,” said Edoardo. “I’m working as hard as a I can so one day we can both be back in a Ryder Cup team together.”
Also aiming to be back on that stage in a playing capacity is Luke Donald, one of Thomas Bjorn’s assistant captains at Le Golf National. A former world No 1, the Englishman led the way in the singles, beating Bubba Watson, as Europe pulled off the “Miracle at Medinah” in 2012, having also been on three previous winning teams. “Sunday brought back lots of memories,” admitted Donald, who is making a return to action in this week’s £3.85 million event after being sidelined for five months with a back injury. “It’s a little bit different as a vice-captain as you can step back and take it all in. As a player, it’s a blur all week, especially the singles where it moves fast.
“My best moments on a golf course have been during Ryder Cups and it was special to be part of this one as well. Being around last week was inspirational for me and I missed that. There will be shots out there this week where I’ll be thinking of the shots played and the pressure and hopefully it will feed off for me.”