Francesco Molinari’s Masters debut came in an unexpected fashion as caddie after his brother, Edoardo Molinari, qualified for Augusta in 2006 as the US Amateur champion. The brothers made a pact that the other brother would caddie for the person who made a major first. Francesco kept his word and his inaugural appearance at Augusta was as a caddie.
“Whoever plays in a major first, the other would caddie,” Francesco noted to Golf Digest.
Francesco is hoping to end up atop the Masters leaderboard against some of the same golfers his brothers played with at Augusta more than a decade ago. Edoardo now plays on the European Tour and has three tournament wins over his career. He also has five Challenge Tour victories. Back in 2006, it was Francesco that was on the European Tour.
Francesco Called His Initial Trip to Augusta as a Caddie a “Bit of a Nightmare”
While the Molinari brothers have a chance to have a storybook ending, Francesco admitted their first taste of Augusta was far from ideal. Francesco quickly realized he did not enjoy being a caddie and Edoardo missed the cut.
“I have lots of memories,” Francesco told Reuters. “Mostly the fact that I didn’t really enjoy caddying. I love being here and I love caddying for my brother, but it was just so hard to give him clubs, and it seemed a bit of a nightmare, you know, standing with the bag, waiting for him to hit the shots.”
For all the hardships the brothers endured during that first Masters appearance, it also taught Francesco what it takes be at the top. Phil Mickelson would eventually win the tournament, and now Molinari is competing against the veteran golfer for a green jacket of his own.
“It was a great motivation to see how good the guys were and, at the same time, how much I needed to improve to hopefully one day get here,” Francesco noted to Reuters. “But I mean at the time, to be honest, the goal was to maybe only be once in my career at Augusta, (that) already would have been an achievement for me.”
The brothers come from an accomplished family. Their father is a dentist and mother is a retired architect, per Golf.com. Francesco’s brother also has an engineering degree and his wife is looking to get a doctorate in child psychology.
The Molinari Brothers Idolized Tiger Woods
The 2006 Masters may not have gone exactly as planned, but one thing that came out of it was the brothers’ childhood dream of playing with Tiger Woods.
“To be there at Augusta [in 2006], to see him play from five yards away, was incredible,” Francesco told Golf.com. “The week before my brother won the U.S. Amateur, we never would have dreamed that a few months later we would be at Augusta National, paired with Tiger Woods. I was massively nervous, from the excitement. I was living a dream, walking the fairways of Augusta, looking at Tiger. He didn’t play particularly well, but you could see he was completely different from everyone else. It was golf on another planet. He introduced himself on the first tee. You laugh: ‘We know who you are.’ After that, he was focused on his golf. I had a couple of exchanges with Stevie Williams [Woods’s caddie], about who would put the pin back.”