Edoardo and Francesco Molinari spent the week before Christmas together in Italy in 2019, not realising then it would be 18 months before the brothers would see each other again because of travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even more surprising was what would bring them together.
"Wasn't expecting the US Open to be the occasion," Francesco said Thursday.
The brothers played the US Open together in 2010 at Pebble Beach and in 2011 at Congressional. That was when 40-year-old Edoardo was having some of his best years, and they were Ryder Cup teammates in Wales in 2010.
Since, then Edoardo has struggled and it wasn't too long ago that he was outside the top 600 in the world.
But without a US Open qualifier in England this year because of travel issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USGA offered 10 spots through a three-tournament points list on the European Tour.
Edoardo tied for the eighth in the British Masters and was a runner-up at the European Open in Germany, earning his spot at Torrey Pines.
"The last year-and-a-half has been very difficult. So that's why I came a day early and I went to visit him Sunday in LA where he is now living with the family, and we just had a good time." – Edoardo Molinari
Francesco, 38, has a five-year exemption from his 2018 Open Championship victory.
During the pandemic, Edoardo was in Italy. Francesco flew home to London and couldn't get to Italy, and then last summer moved his family to Los Angeles.
"The last year-and-a-half has been very difficult," Edoardo said.
"So that's why I came a day early and I went to visit him Sunday in LA where he is now living with the family, and we just had a good time."
They played practice rounds at Torrey on Tuesday and Wednesday and had dinner plans Thursday night. Francesco said they stay in touch constantly, mostly through text and calls.
"But obviously it's not the same, especially after such a long time," Francesco said. "It's definitely the first time that we've been apart for so long, so nice to see him."
Their golf was fairly similar. Francesco opened with a 68, matching his best start to a US Open. Edoardo, a former US Amateur champion, shot 70.
- Doug Ferguson, Associated Press