Sibling Rivalries in Golf

Harbaugh-Brothers-2013

Harbaugh Brothers

On Sunday February 3rd, San Francisco 49er’s head coach Jim Harbaugh and his
brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, will meet head to head in
New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII.

What is it about a sibling rivalry that’s so captivating to us as sports fans? Aside
from the fact that there’s probably a better chance of you and your sibling both
getting struck by lightning than there is of making a professional sport and meeting
head to head on national television, there’s something else that seems to reel us in.
Anyone with a sibling can recall a time playing a game of pick up basketball in the
family driveway or having a heated 9-hole match on a late summer evening. The
“Sibling Rivalry” headline in professional sports grabs our attention because for a
brief moment, we can relate.

Golf is a sport in which the sheer odds of making it to the PGA Tour are so low
that the probability of two siblings ever even playing in the same tournament are
virtually zero. As a result, there haven’t been any documented cases of two siblings
actually playing head to head on any professional tour. However, there have been a
number of siblings who’ve played professionally during the same period of time. In
this respect, determining the winner of these “rivalries” can only be accomplished
by measuring their careers. Below is a list of some of the most prominent sibling
rivalries in the history of professional golf.

The Molinari Brothers – The Molinari brothers are without question, what you
think of when you picture siblings in professional golf today. While they’ve never
had any head to head battles (professionally), they’re both former European Ryder
Cup team members and have combined for a total of 14 professional wins. If this
can be considered a rivalry, Francesco holds the edge over Eduardo, as he is 33 rd in
the Official World Golf Rankings and won the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in
2010.

The Wadkins Brothers – Every golfer is familiar with the name Lanny Wadkins.
A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Lanny tallied a total of 20 wins over his
illustrious career, including the 1977 PGA Championship at Pebble Beach. A name
that most golfers aren’t too familiar with is Bobby Wadkins. Brother to Lanny,
Bobby never recorded a win on the PGA Tour but he did finish 2nd six times. He
was however, rather successful on the Champions Tour where he won four times
including a major. Lanny certainly has bragging rights at family dinners.

The Kuehnes – Hank, Trip and Kelli have all had their fair share of the spotlight
over the past 15 years. While Kelli had one of the greatest female amateur careers of
all time, Hank won the 1998 Men’s U.S. Amateur and the 2002 Canadian Open. Trip
is recognized as the most talented sibling of the family and is most well known for
his epic loss to Tiger Woods in the 1994 Men’s U.S. Amateur. While Tiger may have
made Trip the most infamous sibling, Hank undoubtedly boasts a better resume.

The Harmon Brothers – All sons of the late Claude Harmon Sr. (1948 Masters
Champion), Butch, Craig and Bill are all considered to be among the top golf
teachers in world. While all three can be found on Golf Digest’s Top 50 Teachers in
America, Butch certainly holds the edge. He has either helped or officially coached
most of the best players in the game including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam
Scott and Fred Couples. While Butch has laid claim to the best golf coach in America
for the better part of the last 20 years, Craig was named the PGA Professional of
the Year in 2005 and Bill is considered to be among the best teachers in the state of
California.

The Villegas Brothers – While most golfers are familiar with the young star
Camilo Villegas, not many have heard of his little brother, Manuel. Both attended
the University of Florida and at this point in time, are considered two of the best
Columbian golfers in the world. While both have had their struggles on the course
of late, Camilo undoubtedly has the edge as he has amassed three career PGA Tour
wins.

The Hill Brothers – Though they have both long since retired, Mike and Dave Hill
spent the better part of the 60’s and 70’s grinding it out for bragging rights on both
the PGA and Champions Tour. During their PGA years, Dave certainly had the upper
hand in this rivalry. In addition to winning the prestigious Vardon Trophy in 1969,
he tallied a total of 13 wins and had a 2nd place finish at the 1970 U.S. Open. Mike on
the other hand, was only able to win three times during this stretch. However, when
they joined the Champions Tour, the tables turned. While Dave had a successful run
in his 50’s by winning six Champions Tour events, Mike was able to tally 18. By the
end of their playing days, Mike surpassed his brother’s 25 professional wins with
27. This rivalry truly is a toss-up.

This is a guess post by Katrina Warner of blog.grips4less.com. Grips4less carries the
largest selection of golf grips, shafts, club-building, accessories and more.

One Response to “Sibling Rivalries in Golf”

  1. Ha, great post. Sibling rivalry’s in sports are always fun to watch.

    -Gasper