Tuesday, August 31

From Parks to Molinaris: Golf’s Greatest Brothers

FRANCESCO AND EDOARDO MOLINARI will be the first brothers to compete on a Ryder Cup team since Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt represented Great Britain in the 1963 biennial matches. Francesco, 28, qualified on points, and Edoardo, 29, was a captain’s pick after a late-season run that included wins at the Barclays Scottish Open and last weekend’s Johnnie Walker Championship.

“I don’t think I have to tell you who his [Edoardo’s] partner will be in the fourballs or foursomes,” said Colin Montgomerie, the European team captain.

The Molinaris are just the latest brother act to make a splash in professional golf. They have three European Tour wins between them, which means they’ll need to rack up a lot more titles before they catch many of the following brother tandems.

(Image: 1961 PGA champion Jerry Barber was a short-game wizard.)

Lloyd and Ray Mangrum
Hailing from the pre- and post-World War II era, the Mangrums have the most wins, 41. Lloyd, the younger brother, was a great player, winning 36 titles, including the 1946 U.S. Open in a playoff against Vic Ghezzi and Byron Nelson. Nelson called Mangrum, a Hall of Famer, the best forgotten golfer. Ray won five times between 1936 and 1946.

Jay and Lionel Hebert
With five PGA Tour titles apiece, the Heberts didn’t come close to the Mangrums. But they did something only one other brother act (that I know of) has done: they both won majors. The younger brother, Lionel won the PGA Championship in 1957. Big brother Jay won the PGA in 1960. How cool is that? Jay, I’ve been told, had a picture-perfect golf swing.

Willie and Mungo Park
Willie Park Sr. won four Open Championships from 1860 to 1875. Mungo, his younger brother, won the Open in 1874. And Jr., Willie’s son, won it twice. Talk about keeping it in the family.

Harry and Tom Vardon
The great Harry Vardon, the namesake of the Vardon grip and Vardon Trophy awarded annually to the PGA Tour player with the lowest scoring average, won the Open Championship a record six times. His older brother Tom played in the Open Championship (but never won) and later went to America to take a job as a club professional.

Lanny and Bobby Wadkins
Lanny, the younger Wadkins, had a Hall of Fame career that included 30 wins, one major and several Ryder Cup appearances. Bobby won once on the European Tour and twice on the Japan Golf Tour, but never won in a long PGA Tour career, racking up six runner-up finishes. He’s won four times on the Champions Tour.

Jerry and Willie Barber
Jerry was a great putter who won seven times on tour, including the 1961 PGA Championship, during which he made 120 feet of putts on the last three holes to tie Don January. Then he beat January in a playoff. Jerry also played on two Ryder Cup teams. Willie, his less-famous brother, was a club professional and very good player who once joined yours truly for nine holes in the California desert.

Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt
Bernard had more than 30 professional wins and played on eight Ryder Cup teams. His brother Geoffrey joined him on the 1963 team, but they didn’t play together in any matches.

Camilo and Manuel Villegas
Camilo, of course, is the rising star who has three PGA Tour wins. Manuel is his baby brother who teed it up with Camilo at the St. Jude Classic and has played sporadically on the Nationwide Tour.


Following are the 12 brother combinations who have won on the PGA Tour. Four of the seven Turnesa brothers won on tour, as did three Smith brothers, of which Macdonald was the star. (The year of first official victory and career wins are in parentheses.)

Alex Smith (1906/2)-Macdonald Smith (1924/24)-Willie Smith (1899/1)
Tom Kerrigan (1920/4)-George Kerrigan (1922/2)
Al Espinosa (1924/8)-Abe Espinosa (1928/3)
Lloyd Mangrum (1940/36)-Ray Mangrum (1936/5)
Jim Turnesa (1951/2)-Joe Turnesa (1924/15)-Mike Turnesa (1931/6)-Phil Turnesa (1932/1)
Lionel Hebert (1957/5)-Jay Hebert (1957/5)
Dave Hill (1961/13)-Mike Hill (1970/3)
Don Massengale (1966/2)-Rik Massengale (1975/3)
Joe Inman (1976/1)-John Inman (1987/2)
Danny Edwards (1977/5)-David Edwards (1980/4)
Curt Byrum (1989/1)-Tom Byrum (1989/1)
Brad Bryant (1995/1)-Bart Bryant (2004/3)

−The Armchair Golfer

(Sources: PGA Tour Media Guide and Wikipedia)


Mike said...

It was interesting to hear some questioning Monty's choice of Edoardo. As far as I could see, he was the only choice that didn't require a lot of thought! How do you break up the reigning World Cup team, especially when one has already qualified and both are playing so well?

The Armchair Golfer said...

Edoardo played his way on to the team, a solid pick. Monty had too many good players to pick from, the right problem to have.