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AUGUSTA, GA - April 4, 2006 -- Defending champion Tiger Woods has been grouped with Australia's Robert Allenby and 2005 U.S. amateur champion Edoardo Molinari of Italy for the first two rounds of the Masters Tournament starting on Thursday.
World No. 1 Woods, chasing a fifth green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club, will launch his title defense at 10:23 a.m. ET.
Molinari, an engineering student from Turin who is still an amateur, became Italy's first U.S. amateur champion with a 4 & 3 win over American Dillon Dougherty at Merion Golf Club last August.
That was then, this is now. ~ A few weeks ago, I wrote about the charismatic Molinari brothers. They'd just triumphed at the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup, becoming the first pair of brothers... and the first Italians... ever to win the title.
As exciting and impressive as the brotherly win was however, it was overshadowed... like everything else that Thanksgiving weekend... by a more sensational golf story.
The "Tiger Woods story" eclipsed all other news, transcending golf, and definitively demonstrating the extent to which mainstream journalists are now subject to the same market demands and ratings desperation as tabloids and scandal shows.
This leaves much of the coverage for stories like the Italians' World Cup win... not to mention health care reform and Afghanistan... in the largely unedited hands of independent bloggers, citizen journalists and opinionators of varying stripes.
Word came this morning that Edoardo Molinari's fourth place finish at the South African Open yesterday had pushed him just inside the world's top 50 - thus securing him a spot beside his world number 38 brother, at the 2010 Masters. It'll be the first time in a decade brothers have played in the same Masters Tournament, however in won't be the first time these two brothers have competed on Augusta National's pristine fairways. As indicated above, Edoardo Molinari was the 2005 US amateur champion, which gave him the opportunity to play in the 2006 Masters. Little Brother Francesco was there too; in a white coverall as his brother's caddie.
Ironically, back in 2006 Edoardo and Francesco played with the very man whose story stole their world cup spotlight a few weeks ago: defending champion Tiger Woods. Edoardo described the experience with the enthusiasm of his young age. "It was really cool, and he was so nice. The most amazing experience I've ever had on a golf course..."