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Molinari brothers want Rocca at Ryder Cup
September 2, 2010

Costantino Rocca was the Ryder Cup inspiration for Edoardo and Francesco Molinari and the brothers want their fellow Italian with them when they make their debuts in the team event next month.

Francesco, 27, qualified automatically for the European team that will take on the U.S. holders at Celtic Manor in Wales from Oct. 1-3.

Edoardo was one of captain Colin Montgomerie’s three wildcard picks, along with Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald, after the 29-year-old Italian won the Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland on Sunday with a breathtaking birdie hat-trick finish.

“We had fun watching him (Rocca) beating Tiger Woods (4 & 2 in the singles) at Valderrama in 1997 and winning the Ryder Cup,” Edoardo told reporters on the eve of the European Masters. “He was obviously a big inspiration for us both.

“Costantino sent me a text, then he called me and he was very kind and emotional. It was very nice of him.

“It’s been a long time since he played in the Ryder Cup. He is trying to get to Celtic Manor to add his support and that would be great,” added Edoardo.

Rocca played in the biennial team event three times and is also remembered for the 60-foot putt he sank at the 18th hole at St Andrews to force a playoff with eventual winner John Daly in the 1995 British Open.

The 53-year-old Italian, who also recorded five victories on the European Tour, now competes on the senior circuit.

The Molinaris will be the first brothers to feature in a European Ryder Cup team but Edoardo said he may not play all his matches alongside Francesco.

“I think Francesco and I will play foursomes together because we complement each other,” Edoardo said. “Maybe in fourballs I will take (German) Martin Kaymer.”

Edoardo added that the European Masters would be his last competitive appearance before the Ryder Cup.

“I feel like I need a break,” he said.

Edoardo is hoping to replicate another achievement by Rocca, who won the Crans-sur-Sierre tournament in 1997 just before playing in the Ryder Cup.

Australian great Greg Norman, making a rare European Tour outing this week, will be one of Edoardo’s playing partners for the opening rounds on Thursday and Friday.

His brother Francesco is not playing at Crans.

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