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Edoardo Molinari: “Many Amateurs Overestimate How Far They Hit the Ball”

Edoardo Molinari has been an integral part of the DP World Tour for almost two decades. Now that his active career is coming to an end, as he says himself, he is also focussing on other things. The Italian began keeping his own statistics early on in his career. He now advises numerous top golfers and helps them to use the numbers to their advantage. He has also become a secret weapon for Europe’s Ryder Cup team. In this interview, Molinari talks about complex Excel lists, his collaboration with Arccos and provides insights into his role at the Ryder Cup.

Interview with Arccos Chief Data Strategist Edoardo Molinari

Golf Post: Edoardo, the so-called Chief Data Strategist and Leader Ambassador at Arccos, you got into the business with statistics with your own company, the Statistics Golf Service, and quickly earned some fame for your platform, which is used by loads of world-class professional golfers. Now it’s called the Arccos Pro Insights. What do players find on the platform, and why do they like it so much?

Edoardo Molinari: Yeah, so I started doing this basically for myself many years ago. I have an engineering degree, so I always liked the numbers and the stats and the data side of golf. I found it very useful. Then, a few years ago, some players asked if I could help them. They were using a different company at the time, and I started almost as a hobby, a part-time job. It became very popular with the players, and now it’s become quite a big thing.

I think the unique aspect was that they could speak to someone who understood golf at the highest level but also understood the numbers and could help with them. A lot of them mentioned that it was great to talk with someone who understood the game, not just someone behind a computer. Combining the two things was key to the success so far.

Regarding Arccos, they first approached me two or three years ago, but at the time, I was just starting and didn’t know what I was doing. Then Sal Syed, the CEO, spoke to me again at the end of last year. We developed a very good relationship, having similar views on many things. I needed help to develop further because I had limitations with time and coding capabilities. They put their team at my disposal to help develop my product further. It’s been a successful and enjoyable relationship so far, and we’re developing new things for amateurs and pros. It’s going to be an exciting few months.

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Edoardo Molinari on How He Started Keeping Track of His Game

Golf Post: How did you get into statistics as a hobby? Was it all Excel sheets in the beginning?

Edoardo Molinari: Yeah, in the beginning, it was Excel sheets. I started recording my own stats back in 2002, so over 20 years ago. It began with simple spreadsheets—fairways, greens, number of putts, birdies, bogeys—very simple. Over time, I added more things. Up until a few years ago, it was still an Excel spreadsheet, probably one of the most extreme and complex ones you’ve ever seen. When I showed Sal what I was doing in Excel, he couldn’t believe it was possible. It was very rewarding. I was proud of it, and many developers were amazed by it. When you need something and have to make it work, you find ways.

Golf Post: Your approach to statistics was praised by Sal Syed, one of the founders of Arccos, and many others. What’s so different about your way of using statistics and drawing conclusions?

Edoardo Molinari: I think it’s the unique combination of understanding both the numbers and golf. We have some KPIs and indicators that haven’t been seen before and are quite useful, like how aggressive you are into the greens, whether you’re too aggressive or too conservative, and similar insights for putting. It’s not only about your game but also about strategy and optimizing your game.

For example, seeing how you’ve played the last couple of months and figuring out the best way to play certain holes on a new course. It’s about combining usual stats with course management. For amateurs, it’s easy to see what they’re doing wrong and provide simple tips that could save them shots each round.

Golf Post: What could one of these tips for an amateur be?

Edoardo Molinari: The most important thing for an amateur is to keep the ball in play off the tee. Amateurs lose many shots due to penalty shots and OB (out of bounds) off the tee. The key to lowering your handicap is keeping the ball in play, feven if it means aiming for the rough instead of risking OB. Respect the hazards and penalty areas. Many amateurs overestimate how far they hit the ball, often missing short, which costs them a lot of shots.

“Strokes Gained is Great, But There Are Improvements to be Made”

Golf Post: Your work was compared to the invention of the Strokes Gained Method by Mark Brodie by Lou Stagner. Do you see a transformation in the use of statistics coming as well?

Edoardo Molinari: First of all, I’m very proud to hear that from Lou. I respect him a lot. Mark Brodie revolutionized the world of stats in golf, making it take a massive leap forward. In the last 10 to 12 years, we’ve stayed with Strokes Gained, but I think another leap forward is coming. Strokes Gained is great, but there are improvements to be made, especially for the highest level and even for amateurs. New stats and methods will likely emerge in the next two to three years that will make us look at golf differently.

Golf Post: Like what?

Edoardo Molinari: For example, in short game, comparing shots using Strokes Gained, the baseline is the same regardless of the situation. But different situations require different baselines, like the amount of green you have to work with. The same goes for putting. A six-foot putt uphill is different from one on a 3% slope. These subtle differences can make a big impact. In my work with pros, we use different baselines for different scenarios, which will improve and get better over time.

Golf Post: Where do your work with the pros and Arccos for amateurs meet?

Edoardo Molinari: It’s the same ideas and foundations. What I do for pros is extremely detailed and precise. For lower pros and elite amateurs, it’s simplified but still detailed. For amateurs, it’s even simpler. The approach is the same, focusing on course management and optimization. With the right foundation, even amateurs can see significant improvement, saving several shots per round.

Vice Captain Edoardo Molinari Checks Bethpage Golf Park

Golf Post: You recently visited the Bethpage Golf Park with Captain Luke Donald. How did that go?

Edoardo Molinari: It was great. We spent two full days in New York. Luke looked at the hotel and facilities, while I focused on the golf course. Being an away match, there’s less to organize compared to a home match. Bethpage is a great course, having hosted majors and big events. It’s a modern test—long with elevated greens and quick greens. It might be less spectacular than some courses, but it’s probably tougher, making for an exciting Ryder Cup.

Golf Post: Your role in last year’s winning Ryder Cup team has been praised by many. Can you give us insights into what you did there?

Edoardo Molinari: It wasn’t all about numbers. We had many conversations with all 12 players to ensure they were comfortable. We combined the numbers with what the players felt comfortable with. My first time doing this, I thought it would be easy, but it was complex. Different players use different balls, and moving one player affects others. It was great fun. From announcing the team to the practice trip in Rome, we had many discussions and developed a plan, which worked perfectly.

Golf Post: It definitely did! One last question. You’re advising other players, playing a role in the Ryder Cup, and still a professional golfer. How do you manage it all?

Edoardo Molinari: It’s a lot of time management. I’ve cut out social media and TV shows to the bare minimum. I spend a lot of time talking to players, practicing my game, and keeping time aside for Ryder Cup and Luke. It’s busy but enjoyable. Being towards the end of my career, it keeps me excited about events and playing with top players. I enjoy it, so it doesn’t feel heavy—it’s a pleasure.

Golf Post: Thank you so much for taking the time. It’s been really fun following your path, and we’re excited for everything to come. Thanks a lot.

Edoardo Molinari: Thanks, Tobias. Bye.

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Fun Panorama

Bryson DeChambeau Duels Martin Borgmeier with Children’s Clubs

In an entertaining YouTube video, former long drive world champion Martin Borgmeier and major winner Bryson DeChambeau engage in an unusual duel. The special thing about this three-hole match: DeChambeau plays with children’s golf clubs from the supermarket.

Bryson DeChambeau shines with children’s clubs

The video begins with a humorous challenge: can Bryson DeChambeau beat Martin Borgmeier with children’s golf clubs? The four clubs in this set are a driver, a seven-iron, a pitching wedge and a putter. Before the challenge, the two joke that if DeChambeau wins, he will have to play left-handed and blind in the next match.

The first hole, a par 4, begins with a tee shot from DeChambeau. His driver hits the ball perfectly and lands about 240 metres away on the fairway. Borgmeier counters with an impressive shot that is considerably longer, as the Long-Drive-Pro repeats the whole way to their balls. Borgmeier remains cool on the green and converts his birdie putt after the LIV pro’s putt from the edge of the green missed the hole by just a few centimetres. Between holes, the duo talk about interesting topics such as DeChambeau’s swing technique in long drive competitions, technical details about DeChambeau’s driver or how many balls the golf pro has already hit in his life. But it also remains exciting on the course.

As the match progresses, Bryson DeChambeau’s technical diversity becomes apparent. After another good tee shot, DeChambeau plays the ball to within a few metres of the flag with his second shot, from where he subsequently holes out. Borgmeier is able to play a similarly good approach shot, but misses the decisive putt, allowing DeChambeau to equalise. DeChambeau shows all his class on the final par-3 and leaves the German long driver no chance.The LIV pro emerges victorious from the challenge with a score of 2 to 1 and spectators may soon be able to look forward to the next match between the likeable duo. DeChambeau jokingly commented under the video: “I guess I’ll have to play you blindfolded and left-handed now…”

 
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Panorama

Parents Confirm Grayson Murray’s Suicide

The parents of professional golfer Grayson Murray have disclosed that the 30-year-old has committed suicide. In a statement, Terry and Eric Murray write, among other things: “We have spent the last 24 hours trying to come to terms with the fact that our son is gone […] Life wasn’t always easy for Grayson, and although he took his own life, we know that he rests peacefully now.”

Grayson Murray passed away at 30

The two-time PGA Tour winner had retired on Friday during the second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge on hole 16 at Colonial Country Club – due to illness, according to the PGA Tour – and was found dead on Saturday under as yet unknown circumstances.

After suffering from alcohol and mental problems, including depression, in recent years, Murray had reconnected with the world’s elite in 2024. After his rookie success at the 2017 Barbasol Championship, he won the Sony Open in Hawaii this year and announced at the time that he had been sober for eight months and was newly engaged: “My story isn’t over yet. I think it’s just beginning. I hope I can inspire a lot of people who have their own problems.” He was subsequently even appointed to the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council. He made the cut in his Masters debut in April and finished 51st, tied 43rd at the PGA Championship and was a certainty in the US Open field as 58th in the world.

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Panorama

Tabloids Speculate about Rory McIlroy’s Divorce

The British golf media are speculating about the separation between Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll; the four-time major winner filed for divorce the day before arriving at the PGA Championship in Valhalla. The obvious explanation is that the couple had grown apart. Either because the professional was focussing too much on golf and his wife consequently felt neglected and only concentrated on their daughter Poppy. Or because Erica Stoll had only taken care of their child since Poppy was born on 31 August 2020, which made the golfer feel left behind and bury himself in work.

Rumour: McIlroy’s love affair with CBS presenter

The rumour of a love affair between “Rors” and “CBS” golf presenter Amanda Balionis (38), who is married to football coach Bryn Renner but has not worn a wedding ring since the Masters, is also persistent, as is the case with juicy aspects. As she has also dropped the Renner suffix from her actual double name on her social media accounts, the tabloids, which even tracked Erica Stoll on her way to the nail salon (“Daily Mail”), are sensing amorous reasons for McIlroy’s move and are also said to have identified particularly affectionate interviews between Balionis and the golf star.

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Panorama

Grayson Murray Passed Away Unexpectedly at the Age Of 30

The golf world is mourning the death of Grayson Murray, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 30. Murray, who won his second PGA Tour title this year at the Sony Open in Hawaii, leaves a huge void in professional golf. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan expressed his shock and sadness: “We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the loss of Grayson Murray. The PGA Tour is a family, and when you lose a member of that family, it changes everything. We mourn the loss of Grayson and pray for comfort for his loved ones.” Monahan reported that he had personally contacted Grayson’s parents to offer his deepest condolences. Despite their pain, the parents asked that the Charles Schwab Challenge continue. “They were convinced that Grayson would have wanted us to continue. As hard as it will be, we want to honor their wishes,” Monahan continued. Grief Counselors have been provided at recent PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events to offer support to players and staff. Commissioner Monahan traveled from the Florida headquarters to Fort Worth, Texas to be there in person and promised to release more information as it becomes available.

Statement Confirmes Suicide

Grayson Murray’s parents have disclosed in a statement, that the 30-year-old has committed suicide. Terry and Eric Murray write: “We have spent the last 24 hours trying to come to terms with the fact that our son is gone […] Life wasn’t always easy for Grayson, and although he took his own life, we know that he rests peacefully now.”

Grayson Murray: Already outstanding at an early age

Grayson Murray was an outstanding golfer from early on. At a young age, he won the Callaway Junior World Championships three times in a row (2006-08) and was the top-ranked golfer in his age group. At the age of 16, he was the second youngest player ever to make the cut on the Korn Ferry Tour. After stops at Wake Forest University, East Carolina University and Arizona State University, he received a sponsor invitation to a Korn Ferry Tour event near his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina in 2016. His top-10 finish at this tournament, the Rex Hospital Open, helped him to further starts and ultimately to his breakthrough in professional golf. A win at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship earned him second place on the Korn Ferry Tour money list and secured his promotion to the PGA Tour for the 2016-17 season. As a rookie, Murray wasted no time winning the 2017 Barbasol Championship. He finished the season impressively with a 66th place finish in the FedExCup and earnings of almost 1.5 million dollars. However, the following years were difficult for Murray. It was not until 2023 that he regained his old form on the Korn Ferry Tour, winning two tournaments and thus securing his return to the PGA Tour. At the start of the 2024 season, he achieved his second victory on the tour at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he defeated Byeong Hun An and Keegan Bradley in a play-off. After this victory, Murray spoke openly about his mental challenges: “My parents have been through hell with me over the last six years because I’ve struggled with some mental issues,” he said at the time. “It’s not easy for me and it’s not easy for the people who love me. They don’t like to see me down. They’ve always been my biggest supporters, as well as some friends, and that makes those moments extra special.”

Numerous players in mourning

Following the news of Murray’s death, numerous prominent golfers expressed their deepest sorrow. World number one Scottie Scheffler said: “The news hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m thinking of his family and praying for them. I can’t imagine how difficult this time must be for them.” Webb Simpson, who had known Murray since childhood, also expressed his dismay and fought back tears: “When you get news like this over the phone, you can’t realize it’s true at first. I am very grateful for the time I was able to spend with him before this terrible news. It really is devastating.” The English golfer and captain of the European Ryder Cup team, Luke Donald, wrote on social media: “It’s unbelievable that Grayson Murray has passed away. He asked me for advice on how to play Augusta a few months ago and I saw him at the PGA Championship last week. Life is truly precious. My condolences and prayers go out to his entire family.” Two-time major winner Bubba Watson said: “It’s very sad to hear of Grayson Murray’s passing. Life is so fragile. I just hugged you at the Masters and told you how proud I am of you. I’m grateful to have known you.”

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Panorama

Student Films Rough Handling of Golf Baggage

A recently released video shows appalling behavior by airport employees when handling golf bags. The video, recorded by a member of the East Tennessee State men’s golf team, is currently causing outrage on social media. It documents how airport staff rudely throw golf bags off the plane. When unloading the plane, the golf bags were not handled with care, but were literally thrown to the ground. From there, they were then lifted onto a trolley by another employee.

Rough Handling of Golf Baggage Goes Viral

The student who recorded the video shared it on X (Twitter), where it quickly went viral and gained more than seven million views. In the comments, many users expressed their outrage at the behavior of the airport employees. “This sucks, and it’s not saving him any time. Just poor effort and bad service.,” wrote one user. Another commented: “This is horrible. However, I always put my clubs in a hard case if I check them for travel . Can’t trust the baggage handlers!”

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Highlights Tours Panorama

Is Scottie Scheffler Facing Prison? – The Charges Against Him Explained

Scottie Scheffler could face serious consequences after the events of early Friday morning at the 2024 PGA Championship. The world number one got into an altercation with police in the wake of the traffic chaos following the fatal road traffic accident at the gates of Valhalla Golf Club, where a member of the security team was killed. Scheffler wanted to avoid the traffic jam in front of the course and therefore pulled into the free lane next to him about a mile before the course. According to his own statement, this was followed by a misunderstanding of the officer’s instructions and the subsequent arrest of the tour star. Bryan Gillis, the Louisville Metro Police detective involved in the incident, later stated that Scheffler “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging (him) to the ground.”

What charges await Scottie Scheffler after his arrest?

Although Scheffler was released on bail in time for the start of his second round, prosecutors are now filing four charges against the Texan. Scheffler is charged with second-degree assault on a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disobeying traffic signals of a traffic control officer. The first charge is a felony, the other charges are misdemeanours.

His lawyer Steve Romines has now commented on the next steps in an interview with Golf.com. The arraignment before a judge is scheduled for Tuesday and will initially decide whether the case goes to trial or the charges are dropped. At this first hearing, according to his lawyer, they will plead not guilty and if the judge decides in favour of charges, the case will go to trial.

If Scheffler is convicted, he could face between five and ten years in prison for “second-degree assault on a police officer”. However, it must be proven that Scheffler intentionally caused serious injury to another person or acted wilfully. In the meantime, Romines said his team will continue to gather evidence, eyewitnesses and video footage from the officers’ body cams.
In closing, Scheffler’s attorney said, according to Golf.com, “Scottie did not intentionally do anything wrong. He was doing exactly what they told him to do.”

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Highlights Tours

Ex-Employee Steals Millions in Masters-Memorabilia

Just two days after this year’s Masters Tournament, it became known that millions of dollars worth of trophies and memorabilia had been stolen from Augusta National Golf Club. Now 39-year-old Richard Brendan Globensky has pleaded guilty in a Chicago court to stealing and selling the green jackets, tickets from the 1930s and many other valuable memorabilia, as reported by CBS. A total of around five million dollars is believed to have flowed into the pockets of the former Augusta National employee.

Former employee steals millions worth of Masters memorabilia

Among the stolen memorabilia were not only souvenirs of past Masters visits, but also the legendary green jackets of Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. Palmer won the Masters four times, in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964, while Ben Hogan received his jackets in 1951 and 1953. Sarazan won in 1935, before the tradition of the special jackets was established, but received his model later in 1949.
Globensky has now pleaded guilty to stealing merchandise and memorabilia from 2009 to 2022 and transporting it away by truck. From a warehouse, the individual items were then sent to a fence in Florida, where they were sold in online auctions.

CBS reports that other memorabilia and fan items stolen by Globensky include Masters programmes from 1934 and 1935, an Augusta National clubhouse trophy, Masters tickets from 1934 to 1939, documents and letters signed by Augusta National founder Bobby Jones, as well as Masters flags, watches and other fan items.

By pleading guilty, Globensky faces only two to two and a half years in prison instead of up to ten years, and his sentencing was set for 29 October.
He must also submit a cheque for 1.57 million dollars within seven days to cover part of the compensation to Augusta National. In total, he owes the Masters venue around 3.5 million dollars and must forfeit the 5.3 million dollars in profits he made from the sale of the stolen items.

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Panorama

England Declares a Fight Against Slow Play

The English golf association “England Golf” is introducing stricter regulations at the start of this season to combat the slow play “epidemic”. Checkpoints will be set up at all championships taking place under the sovereignty of England Golf: Playing groups must have passed the checkpoints after holes 4, 9 and 14 of each round within a predetermined period of time, otherwise warnings and penalty strokes will be issued if the dawdling is not made up for in the following round. The rule is that the distance to the previous group should not exceed twelve minutes.

England Golf: “We try to make the game a bit quicker”

The new rule is to be “strictly enforced” in this year’s test phase: “What I looked at is what we can do as an organisation to try and make the game a little bit quicker,” said James Crampton, the governing body’s director of championships.

“What I wanted to do was put the onus much more back onto the players – rather than the players thinking it’s the referee’s responsibility to get people round in a suitable time. Previously, if there were instances of players playing slowly, the policy was difficult to implement in terms of applying penalties,” Crampton added according to the National Club Golfer.

After an initial warning after the first delay, players have the chance to clear the backlog until the next check point. If this does not happen, two penalty strokes are added to the scorecard. In addition to the new rules on flight speed, individual time penalties can still be imposed, up to disqualification after four offences.

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Panorama

Decline in Numbers: Less Golf Played on the British Mainland

The average monthly number of rounds played per course in England, Wales and Scotland dropped to 1,385. Compared to the same period in 2023, this represents a decrease of 14%. The greatest impacts were felt in the Midlands and the North, although there were green shoots for the latter in the form of a year-on-year growth in March. Scotland and the South experienced single digit percentage drops against Q1 2023. It should be noted however that 2023 enjoyed strong February and March performances. For March 2024 to finish 3% down year-on-year is a decent result that should not be interpreted as cause for pessimism as golf moves into the critical summer window.

Positive conditions despite falling figures

While the professional game remains unstable and unsettled, the first majors of the season testified to the strength of golf’s current undisputed dominant forces, Scottie Scheffler and Nelly Korda. With rounds played setting regular records in Great Britain over recent years, the split in the men’s professional game has not so far translated to waning interest in amateur participation. In fact, with initiatives like iGolf making many golfers’ experiences more rewarding, conditions remain positive for golf to put up strong numbers through the rest of 2024. The caveat to that is that the continuing high cost of living does appear to be impacting on leisure spend, albeit at lower levels than might have been predicted.

“It’s much too early to worry at this stage”

“A few things are important to bear in mind,” noted Richard Payne, joint managing director of Sporting Insights. First is the relative strength of 2023 and 2022 when looking at any downward shifts in performance. March for example remains ahead of 2019’s numbers. The second is that, while not insubstantial – in fact the appetite for winter golf reflects the hardiness of so many GB golfers – Q1 rounds are dwarfed by summer numbers that are 2-3 times higher on average than we see over Q1, so there is more than enough time for the year to end in growth. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that like any outdoor sport, fluctuations in participation happen. This is the first quarter to see a year on year drop in rounds played since Q1 last year. If declines in rounds played persist throughout the year, then there may be conversations that the industry needs to have, but it’s much too early to worry at this stage.”

For now, clubs across Great Britain will hope for fine weather and regular tee time bookings over the next six months.

(Text: Sporting Insights)