With Italy set to host The Ryder Cup for the first time in 2022, Open Champion Francesco Molinari and three-time European Tour winner Edoardo Molinari are already seeing the game develop in their home country.
The brothers, who formed part of the successful European Ryder Cup side in 2010, have always been leading lights in Italian golf, with Francesco the first Italian to win a Major while Edoardo is the only player from his homeland to triumph in the prestigious U.S. Amateur Championship.
Although admitting that Italy is sports-mad, both agree that golf has not always been seen as a mainstream sport, but believe it is becoming more and more popular as the countdown to The Ryder Cup in Rome begins.
“People realise how big the Ryder Cup is, especially for a small golfing country like Italy,” said Edoardo.
“There’s been a lot of news in the media; a lot of people are talking about it. I think it’s going to be a very unique Ryder Cup because the Italian people are very passionate about any sport and I think when it comes to golf, you will see support that has been unheard of and something that’s never been done before.
“If you look at the Italian Open where it was five or six years ago to where it is now, it’s just a completely different event. Hopefully we can keep going for a few more years, hopefully more and more players will come and play and just raise the awareness for golf and Italian golf.”
“I remember when I was a teenager and things were very different, it was almost impossible to watch golf on TV,” said Francesco.
“It’s a nation crazy about sports in general, motor racing and many other things, and I think golf is becoming part of it.
“We’ve got some unbelievable places, some really good golf courses that are probably not as well known in the world as they should be. They’re doing great with the Italian Open, hopefully it will boost golf tourism in Italy as well.”