My Ryder Cup: Edoardo Molinari
“Seve called the team on Wednesday night.
“He obviously wasn’t very well at the time, but he managed to spend ten minutes on the phone with all of us. He told us some Ryder Cup stories and how proud he was of all his Ryder Cup wins.
“To be able to spend that time listening to Seve about how he won certain games and what he did to win them, it was very inspiring not only for that week but for my entire career to this day.
“It is something that none of us will ever forget.”
The Ryder Cup is one of the few occasions professional golfers have the chance to play in a team environment.
When Edoardo Molinari, now a three-time winner on the European Tour, was selected as a wildcard pick in Colin Montgomerie’s team in 2010, it offered up a rare opportunity.
To play in The Ryder Cup alongside his younger brother, Francesco.
They were the first to play together as brothers in the modern era, with Charles, Ernest and Reg Whitcombe, Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt, Joe and Jim Turnesa, and Jay and Lionel Herbert the only others to accompany their siblings at a Ryder Cup.
“It was very special to play with Francesco,” Edoardo said. “I think it helped both of us to feel a little bit less pressure.”
“Even then it’s still a lot of pressure because it’s your first match and you want to play well, and I thought we did play quite well, but we narrowly lost on the last. It was a good match and we put in a decent performance.
“We never asked to play together but we had won the World Cup less than 12 months before playing fourball and foursomes so I always thought we were going to play one match together.
“That first match I was 100% sure I was going to play with Francesco and then they mentioned to me the day before that we were going to sit out of the fourballs in the morning and we would play the foursomes in the afternoon.
“I was still overjoyed to be part of the team though as, before Colin Montgomerie made his picks, I think there were five players inside the top 20 in the world who weren’t in the team so the choice was very difficult to make.
“I just remember going into Gleneagles knowing I was one of the few players with a chance for a wildcard playing that week. I thought if I can play really well here, he’ll pick me. On the weekend it was very clear that if I won the event, I would have got a pick.
“I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I decided to play with the thought that if I win the event I’ll be in the European Ryder Cup team.
“And that’s what happened.
“I remember when I finished not being 100% sure, but I felt I gave it my very best and if that’s not enough then it’s not meant to be.
“Luckily it was enough.
“Of me, Francesco and my parents, probably my parents were the most excited. Obviously, everyone was very happy and I was excited for both of us to be playing in the same team. It was unique for two brothers to represent Europe and I guess our parents were extremely proud and happy.
The 2010 Ryder Cup was also unique for another reason – the weather…
Torrential rain postponed most of the first day, meaning that the final day took place for the first time on a Monday.
However, Molinari insists the weather delay helped calm any nerves, as well as advice from teammates.
“If anything, the weather delay had the opposite effect because we managed to get out on the course and see some of the other games. I had never been at a Ryder Cup before and nor had Francesco, so we just managed to soak in the atmosphere and see what we would have gone through in the afternoon.
“I remember all the songs, which were unbelievable. The crowds were crazy to be honest. And I remember standing on the first tee on day one before we even played and we went down to watch some of the other games.
It was raining heavily, it was foggy, miserable and cold.
“We thought nobody would be on the tee. It was around an hour before the first tee time and there were 5,000 people sitting there, singing!
“It is still a very vivid memory of how different the week was compared to other weeks.
“I think it was very helpful that the first match was delayed and we could do some practice and watch some of the matches because it gave me chance to chat with some of the more experienced guys in the players’ lounge.
“I became quite close to Pádraig Harrington after that week and that was a big positive of all those delays. We had many chats during those off hours.
“Pádraig talked about how I was going to be very nervous on the first tee and he just said to me ‘remember that anytime you’re nervous, the guy next to you will be more nervous than you.’
“Thomas Bjørn also offered some good advice. With me being a rookie they were trying to get me ready to play under such pressure and I have to say when I actually managed to play – thanks to their advice – I never felt much pressure compared to what I’ve felt in other times in my career.
“Some of the other tournaments I’ve played where I’ve won, going down the stretch I was much more nervous than that week at The Ryder Cup.
“José María Olazábal was a guy I watched playing in many Ryder Cups and to be able to share an experience with him, ask for advice and share ideas was something that really helped me going forward.”
After losing by two holes to Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan in his opening match alongside his brother, the duo made amends by claiming half a point against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar in their fourball match.
The Monday singles matches would see Edoardo matched up against Team USA’s Rickie Fowler, who was also a rookie.
The Italian looked to be dominating the match and when he found himself 3UP with three to play, it looked like a full point was coming Europe’s way.
However, the young American battled back, making three consecutive birdies, to claim half a point.
“As soon as my match with Rickie finished, I was very disappointed. I was 3UP through 15 and I had an eagle putt on 15 to win the game from around ten feet which I left short.
“Rickie then birdied the last three. I could have, and maybe should have, birdied one of the last three but it’s never easy under that kind of pressure.
“When I finished, I was bitterly disappointed because I was hoping to get the full point. At the end of the day we ended up winning by half a point, meaning my half point counted.
“It was a very quick turnaround because I finished my own match on the 18th hole as Graeme McDowell was playing the 16th hole.
“I just sat there for five minutes. I was on the verge of tears.
“Billy Foster was there and he said ‘Come on, we’re going to win it anyway,’ and he dragged me back to the 17th green. In the meantime, G-Mac had won the 16th hole and was 2UP so we were looking good again.
“We just waited by the green and then obviously he clinched the point and it was massive celebrations.
“It’s one of my biggest achievements. I’ve never won a Major or WGC - I’ve won some big events like the World Cup - but to be able to play in The Ryder Cup was one of my career goals and just to be able to tick that box is something I’m very proud of.
“It’s a massive goal of mine to play in The Ryder Cup again.
“At the moment, I’m far away from that level but every year I want to improve and get back to playing Majors and WGC’s, so I’m able to have a chance to play in another Ryder Cup.
“I’m still only 39, so I still have a few chances ahead of me and hopefully one year I’ll play good enough to play one more because it would be amazing.”