Welcome to Lost on the Continent, Know Your European Ryder Cuppers and the first in a series of brief articles that aims to explain away the confusion surrounding some of Europe’s more obscure Ryder Cup talent and leave you, if not fluent in European Tour, at least able to ask for directions without offending the locals…
Age: 27 and 29
From: Turin, Italy
European Tour Victories: 3 (2 and 1)
Ryder Cup Anonymity Factor: 5/10 (They’re the brothers!)
Current holders of the World Cup, the brothers from Turin are possessors of games so contrasting that were you to take the strongest elements of each and add them together, you’d have something approaching the complete golfer. Whereas Francesco is a specialist in finding fairways and greens with a golf swing that’s the very definition of orthodox simplicity, elder brother Edoardo is an intuitive talent with a slightly unpredictable action whose greatest asset is a knack for scoring a lot lower than his game’s separate parts would suggest possible.
It’s this killer instinct that has, in 2010 at least, proven the difference between the brothers. For all of Francesco’s ball-striking prowess, it’s Edoardo who emerges from the season to date with two victories, the second of which, at the Johnnie Walker Championship, involved engineering an impressive closing run of three consecutive birdies. Carried out full in the knowledge that a win would amount to shoulder-charging a way into Monty’s Ryder Cup plans, it was massive display of bravery.
His playing partner on each of the winning Sundays was, naturally, his brother Francesco, who succeeded on both occasions in out-playing Edoardo from tee-to-green only to be frustrated time and time again from within ten feet. Perhaps unfairly, it sometimes seems that the massive improvements Francesco has made in his long-game over the preceding two seasons have only really served to bring the comparative weakness of his putting into sharper relief.
It’s a problem he’s perhaps too aware of himself, having spent the season flitting unconvincingly between the belly putter and a toe-weighted blade, never looking entirely at ease with either. Though he is at the moment the brother with an identifiable weakness, it’s worth bearing in mind that he too has some pedigree when it comes to winning under the gun—in 2007 he did end the 26-year wait for a homegrown winner of the Italian Open after all (click for inappropriate use of Rage Against the Machine).
A Molinari partnership in both the foursomes and fourballs is a certainty. Having only ever been beaten once in their history as a pairing at both amateur and professional level, ‘Fredoardo’ will make for an unusually intimidating rookie partnership. Should they enjoy some success (and here’s hoping they do), look for Edoardo to be celebrating wildly while his brother looks on slightly embarrassed.
[Photo via the Guardian]