Can Molinari win back-to-back Majors?
Francesco Molinari’s spectacular victory at The 147th Open at Carnoustie will have sent the Italian’s confidence sky-high ahead of the fourth Major of the year.
After lifting the Claret Jug, Molinari will join the world’s best players at the PGA Championship which starts on 9 August at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri for the 100th edition.
Not only will Molinari arrive in Missouri as one of the most in-form golfers on the planet, he also finished tied for second at the PGA Championship 12 months ago and has never missed the cut at this Major.
History though demonstrates how difficult it is to lift the Claret Jug and maintain that momentum into the final Major of the year.
Just five players have managed the feat, Rory McIlroy the most recent in 2014, while Tiger Woods, tied sixth at Carnoustie, has done the double twice.
Rory McIlroy 2014
McIlroy became Champion Golfer for the first time in 2014 with a two-shot victory over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia at Royal Liverpool. He followed that up with victory at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational before sealing a dramatic PGA Championship success in the dark at Valhalla.
Padraig Harrington 2008
The last person to successfully defend the Claret Jug was Padraig Harrington back in 2008 at Royal Birkdale. And he would lift his third major just a few weeks later as he became the first European to win the PGA Championship since Scotland-born Tommy Armour in 1930. Once again it was Garcia who was runner-up, tied with Ben Curtis, two shots behind the Irishman at Oakland Hills Country Club.
Tigers Woods 2006 and 2000
The only player to have completed The Open and PGA Championship double in the same year twice is American Tiger Woods. In 2006, he became Champion Golfer of the Year at Hoylake before picking up Major number 12 at Medinah Country Club just a few weeks later. And six years earlier, Woods had completed an unprecedented treble – the first since Ben Hogan in 1953. He was US Open champion before success at The Open at St Andrews and lifting the PGA Championship.
Nick Price 1994
Prior to Woods’ incredible performances, the last two Majors of the year had only been won by the same player twice - Zimbabwean Nick Price in 1994 and American Walter Hagen in 1924. Price won golf’s oldest major at Turnberry before success at the host of this year’s PGA Championship, the Bellerive Country Club. A good omen for Molinari?
Walter Hagen 1924
Hagen won an incredible 11 Major trophies in his illustrious career and did the double in 1924 with The Open at Royal Liverpool and the PGA Championship at French Lick Springs Golf Club.
Molinari faces a tough test to join these legends of the game but in the form he showed during his bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie he has every chance of a historic double of his own.