Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard winning the European Tour’s Ras Al Khaimah Championship last week, not long after his twin Rasmus had already taken a European Tour title, has brought Siblings in Golf into focus. Remarkably the Hojgaards are 20 year old twins, and are being touted as the next big thing in European golf.
Since turning professional in 2019, Nicolai and Rasmus have won five DP World (European) Tour titles between them. . Both players hit it a mile, which adds to their appeal with Nicolai and Rasmus averaging 334 and 323 yards off the tee respectively, far ahead of the tour average of 308 yards.
While the twins are just starting their careers, there are a number of successful siblings already plying their trade on the men’s and women’s professional tours. We take a look at the four pairs that we think are the best right now. At least one of each pair of siblings on this list has won a Major, so the Hojgaard twins have a high standard to match.
- Minjee and Min Woo Lee –
Australians Minjee and Min Woo Lee are the only sister/brother combination on our list. The 25-year-old Minjee Lee won three times on the LPGA Tour before her 21st birthday. Last season she won her first major, the Evian Championship, and has won six LPGA and two LET events. She is currently ranked 8 th in the world. She was also the world’s No. 1 ranked women’s amateur golfer in 2014.
Two years younger than his sister, Min Woo turned pro in 2019, winning his first European Tour title in 2020 and the 2021 Scottish Open title in 2021.
The Australian pair also have the distinction of being the only brother/sister pair to win the USGA’s junior championships. Minjee won the 2014 US Girls and Min Woo Lee won the 2016 US Boys Amateur.
3. Francesco & Edoardo Molinari –
The oldest pair of siblings on this list are the Italians Francesco and Edoardo Molinari. Edoardo is the elder of the two by roughly 21 months. The brothers burst on the scene in 2009, when they won the World Cup of Golf. They also partnered each other in the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales, which Europe won.
Now 41 years old, Edoardo has three wins on the European Tour (as it was known then), with his last win coming in 2017. He also has seven other professional wins and won the US Amateur in 2005.
Younger brother Francesco, who is 39, is the more accomplished of the two. In 2018 he became the first Italian to win a Major championship when he outplayed Tiger Woods down the stretch at the British Open. That year Molinari reached a high of No. 6 in the world rankings and starred in the Ryder Cup, going a perfect 5 for 5 as Europe claimed the trophy. He has won three times on the PGA Tour and six times on the European Tour. However, Francesco has struggled since losing to Woods in the 2019 Masters and is now ranked 183rd in the world.
2. Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn –
A year ago the Thai pair of Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn would probably have been No. 1 on this list. Younger sister Ariya, who is 26, became the first Thai golfer, male or female to win a Major Championship when she won the 2016 Women’s British Open. In 2017, she was ranked No. 1 in the world for the first time.
In 2018, she won the U.S. Women’s Open for her second Major title and ended the year ranked No. 1 again. However, she struggled in 2019 and 2020, failing to record a victory in either year. She finally broke her drought in 2021, winning her 12 th LPGA Tour title and is currently ranked 29 th in the world.
Moriya, who is 27, is not quite as accomplished. While she was the 2013 LPGA Rookie of the Year, she took 156 starts to win her first tournament. When she finally broke through at the 2018 LA Open, the Jutanugarns became only the second pair of sisters to have won on the LPGA Tour, after Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam.
In 2021, Moriya won her second tour title alongside her sister at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a pairs event and is currently ranked 37th in the world.
1. Jessica and Nelly Korda –
The American sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda are arguably the best pair of siblings currently playing professional golf. Jessica, who turned 29 on Feb 27, has won six times on the LPGA and is currently ranked 24 th in the world. She did get inside the top 10 earlier in her career.
Younger sister Nelly is 23 and in 2021 won four events on the LPGA Tour, including her first Major – the Women’s PGA Championship. That win took her to No. 1 in the world and has held the top spot for a combined total of 29 weeks, the longest reign of any American golfer since the rankings began in 2006. Nelly has seven wins on the LPGA and one more on the LET and is currently ranked No. 2 in the world.
Nelly and Jessica both represented the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Nelly took home the individual gold medal. They are only the third siblings, after the Sorenstams and Junatugarns, to win on the LPGA Tour.
What does it take ?
In India too there are examples of siblings playing quite competitively and obviously there are bound to be synergies of training, practising and learning together. However it takes a special bond between the kids and special dedication by parents to avoid potential sibling rivalry and give both children equal opportunities and treatment. Of course, if the results work as they have in the above cases, the results can be sublime !!
Photo – LPGA