The Molinari Brothers - Inspired Italian Golf

Just a few months ago most Americans... including many who consider themselves ardent golf fans... knew nothing of the Molinari brothers. And if asked to name an Italian golfer they'd likely need to refer to the Google.

Some however, would remember the 1995 Open Championship, when Constantino Rocca, a wonderfully demonstrative Italian, sank a 60 foot putt on the 18th at St Andrews to make the birdie he needed force a play-off with... John Daly. And while JD ultimately won the Claret Jug that year, Rocca's reaction to the implausible putt is considered one of the most memorable ever.

The former caddy is the only Italian to ever play in the Ryder Cup. He appeared in 1993, 1995 and 1997, and had a 6-5-0 win-loss-half record, including 1 win and 2 losses in singles matches. That one singles win came in a crucial match against Tiger Woods in the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama, which Rocca won 4 & 2 to help Europe claim the cup. The victory against Woods was one of Woods' first losses in singles play. Rocca's 53% winning record in the Cup is one of the best in European team history.

As for the Molinaris, they list Constantino Rocca as a major inspiration, as does their coach Alberto Binaghi.

I first "discovered" the impressive brothers from Turin in late November when they won the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup together. I've written about them a many times since ... because, well, they've done some impressive things over the past six months. And with Edoardo's win at the Barclays Scottish Open yesterday... and Francesco's fourth place finish there... the Molinaris are in line to become the first brothers to play together in a Ryder Cup Championship since Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt almost 40 years ago.

Which would be just one more milestone in the fraternally fabulous careers of Edoardo and Francesco Molinari.

Photos: Getty Images, Harry How --- Andrew Reddington