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Sir Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo.jpg
Personal information
Full name Sir Nicholas Alexander Faldo
Born 18 July 1957 (1957-07-18) (age 52)
Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13.9 st)
Nationality  England
Residence Orlando, Florida, USA
Children Natalie (b.1986), Matthew (b.1989), Georgia (b.1993), Emma Scarlet (b.2003)
Turned professional 1976
Current tour(s) PGA Tour
European Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins 40
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 9
European Tour 30 (5th all time)
Other 7
Best results in Major Championships
(Wins: 6)
The Masters Won: 1989, 1990, 1996
U.S. Open 2nd: 1988
Open Championship Won: 1987, 1990, 1992
PGA Championship T2: 1992
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1997 (member page)
Member of the Order
of the British Empire
European Tour
Order of Merit winner
1983, 1992
European Tour
Player of the Year
1989, 1990, 1992
European Tour
Rookie of the Year
PGA Player of the Year 1990
BBC Sports
Personality of the Year

Sir Nicholas Alexander Faldo, MBE (born 18 July 1957) is an English professional golfer on the European Tour, and is one of Europe's most successful players ever. Over his career, he has won six majors: three Open Championships and three U.S. Masters. He was ranked the World No. 1 on the Official World Golf Rankings for a total of 98 weeks. In 2006, Faldo became the lead golf analyst for CBS Sports.


Tournament career

Faldo was born in Welwyn Garden City, England. He borrowed some clubs from his neighbours after watching Jack Nicklaus play the 1971 Masters on television. While working as a carpet fitter, Faldo won the English Amateur and the British Youths Championship in 1975. He turned professional in 1976 and quickly achieved success, finishing 8th on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1977 and 3rd in 1978 and winning a European Tour event in each of those seasons. In the former year he became the youngest player to appear in the Ryder Cup at the age of 21. Faldo was one of the leading players on the European Tour in the early 1980s, and he topped the Order of Merit in 1983.

However, feeling that he needed to refine his game in order to become a regular contender in major championships (British tabloids even dubbed him "Nick Foldo" after collapses at the 1983 Open Championship and the 1984 Masters), he spent the mid-1980s remodelling his swing under the tutelage of David Leadbetter. His performances dropped off for a couple of years as the changes occurred, but by 1987 he was playing at an even higher level, and he claimed his first major title at that year's Open Championship. He managed to beat American Paul Azinger by one shot even without getting a birdie in the final round (he parred all 18 holes), after Azinger bogeyed the final two holes of the tournament.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Faldo was considered the best golfer in the world. He was noted for being remarkably composed under pressure, intimidating to his opponents, and won more of the four professional major tournaments (Faldo won six) than any other player in the world from 1987 through 1996 (Nick Price was second with three major victories during this period; Seve Ballesteros, a contemporary of Faldo's from Spain, won five majors from 1979–1988). He won the Open Championship again in 1990 in St Andrews, Scotland by six shots, and claimed it for a third time in 1992, outplaying American John Cook. He also won two more majors when he won the Masters Tournament in 1989 and 1990. At the 1989 Masters, he shot a 65, the low round of the tournament, to get into a playoff with Scott Hoch. He won the playoff after holing a somewhat lengthy putt on the 2nd playoff hole (Hoch missed a 2 foot putt to win on the first playoff hole). At the 1990 Masters, he came from behind again to get into a playoff with Raymond Floyd, once again winning on the second playoff hole after Floyd pulled his approach shot into a pond left of the green. Faldo spent a total of 98 weeks altogether at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, and claimed the European Tour Order of Merit a second time in 1992. During that time, Faldo said of his success: "The run doesn't have to end. If someone is going to beat me then I'm going to make sure they've worked for their victory. Let them come and get it from me."[1] That year, he had worldwide earnings of £1,558,978, breaking the existing record.

Throughout this time, he remained a European Tour player while also visiting America regularly and playing events around the world, but in 1995 he decided to concentrate on playing on the PGA Tour, as his priority was to win further major championships (and three out of the four majors are played in the United States). At first this strategy didn't seem to work, as he had a moderate 1995 season and start to the 1996 season, but he won a famous victory at the 1996 Masters to collect his sixth and final major championship. He went into the final round trailing Greg Norman by six shots, but was the beneficiary of an infamous Sunday collapse by Norman; Faldo shot a 67 to win by five over Norman, who struggled mightily en route to a 78. Though this is commonly remembered as the tournament Norman threw away, Faldo's 67 was a memorable display of concentration and consistency which put pressure on Norman. After Faldo finished, he hugged Norman and whispered something in his ear, which years later Norman confirmed to have included the line "Don't let the bastards get you down," a reference to the media, which Faldo assumed would aggressively hound Norman for the loss. Norman said in interview after defeat that "He (Faldo) had gone way, way up in my estimations". Since then they have become firm friends and fishing partners, a passion they both share.

Faldo was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1990 and the European Tour Player of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1992, and has won 29 European Tour titles. As Faldo entered his forties, his form gradually declined and he devoted more time to off-course activities. The last season that he played regularly on the PGA Tour was 2001. Afterwards, he refocused on the European Tour, but has consistently played less than a full schedule. His most recent top-10 finish in a major to date (and quite probably the final of his career) was a tie for eighth place at the 2003 Open Championship. As of July 2005, his career European Tour earnings are just under 8 million, and his PGA Tour earnings are over $5 million.

Faldo is also the most successful Ryder Cup player ever having won the most points of any player on either team and having represented the European Team a record 11 times and played a key role in making Europe competitive in the event. Having won 23 of his matches, lost 19, and halved 4, he also holds the record for having played the most Ryder Cup matches. He also holds the record for the most points won by any player 25 and is one of only six players to have scored a hole-in-one in the Ryder Cup.

While Faldo's professional individual tournament wins (39) pale in quantity to that of contemporaries Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer, the prestige and stature of his successes are impressive, and he has more major victories than any of these players. His CV boasts (often multiple) successes in high-profile tour events such as the French Open, Irish Open, Spanish Open, Swiss Open (now European Masters), the European PGA, the British Masters, the European Open, the Johnnie Walker Classic, and the Volvo Masters, as well as his Nissan Open, Doral Open and Heritage successes in the US. These wins are not only supplemented by his six majors, but also by his wins in invitational events such as the Nedbank Million Dollar Challenge, the Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship, and the World Matchplay, as well as his team successes in the Dunhill Cup, the World Cup of Golf, and of course the Ryder Cup.

Faldo in July 2008

In the first half of 2007, Faldo did not appear in any regular tour events. He did play in the 2007 British Open, missing the cut. In his first Champions Tour event, he finished tied for 14th in the Senior British Open.

After this, Faldo missed the cut at Carnoustie in 2007 and has not played a tournament since the Hong Kong Open in November 2007. On Tuesday 20 May 2008, Faldo confirmed that he would not take part in the 2008 Open at Birkdale. It was the first time he had not taken part in the competition since failing to qualify as an amateur in 1975. He has entered himself into the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry in 2009.

Ryder Cup captaincy

Faldo was selected as captain of the European Ryder Cup team in 2008. The 37th Ryder Cup Golf Tournament was won 16½ - 11½ by Team USA to end the streak of three successive victories for Team Europe. This was Team USA's largest margin of victory since 1981, and the first time since 1979 the Americans had the lead after every session of play.It was held at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, which as a contribution factor in Faldo getting the captaincy given his experience of living and working in America for over a decade.

Faldo had made a bold move to pick Ian Poulter as his wild card ahead of the much favoured Darren Clarke. This decision, questioned by many, paid off when Poulter emerged as the top scorer in the tournament.[2] Faldo's relationship with the media during the competition was very erratic. During practice, photographers had taken pictures of him holding a list of names, seemly outlining the partnerships for the coming days. In the following press conference, he denied the list had any part in his tactics and seemed very irritated by continuing questions about it. Another controversial move was to play Sergio García and Lee Westwood, the two most experienced and successful Ryder cup players on his team, for only one session on the Saturday. His team selection was vindicated, however, as Europe finished the day 1 point ahead, closing the gap to 2 points behind the USA. On the final day of the competition, Faldo decided to play a "bottom heavy" tactic, where the best players would start lower down the order, thus if it went to a close finish, Europe would have its best players in play. This tactic seemed to backfire, as the USA, leading by 2 at the start of the day, gained the 5 points they required by the eighth match rendering the last four irrelevant. This led to some severe criticism of Faldo's strategic skills.[3] His cause was not helped by the poor performances of the three most experienced players on the European side, Pádraig Harrington, Sergio García and Lee Westwood, who failed to win a single match between them.

Broadcasting career

After cutting back on his playing schedule, Faldo became a broadcaster for ABC Sports' PGA Tour coverage, where he worked from 2004 to 2006. While never considered to be a particularly charismatic player, Faldo surprised many fans with his dry, British wit and insightful commentary as part of the ABC team.

On 3 October 2006, it was announced that Faldo had signed a contract with CBS to replace Lanny Wadkins, to become the network's lead golf analyst. "I view this as a fabulous opportunity for me, which may come once every 10 years. But it will seriously curtail my playing career. My playing days aren't completely over but my priority now is given to CBS." Faldo's decision meant he missed the 2007 Masters, an event he had won three times.[4] In 2007 he became the Golf Channel's lead golf analyst for their coverage on the PGA Tour.[5]

Other activities and awards

In 1991 Faldo launched his golf course design practice Faldo Design, which has designed or remodelled dozens of courses spread across several continents. Designs include Chart Hills, Sporting Club Berlin, Ocean Dunes, Vietnam, and Cottonwood Hills near Hutchinson, Kansas.[6] As way of opening his first course design in the UK (Charthills) in Kent, Faldo teed up on the dog-leg right par four. He drove in to the middle-right of the fairway, he then teed another ball and drove off, the two balls finished within 6 inches of each other and to this day can be seen set in to the fairway in a protective case. This was a mark of the man's ability at his peak. So far he did as well several oversea golf course designs like The Fortress at Louisbourg Resort Golf & Spa on Cape Breton Island, Canada. He has other business interests including coaching schools and pro shops. In 1996 he launched the Faldo Series to encourage young European golfers both male and female.

There are 1,200 participants between the ages of 11 and 21 each year and the top 60 players qualify for the Faldo Series Final, hosted each year by Faldo at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. The most notable graduate so far is the Englishman Nick Dougherty, who won on the European Tour for the first time in 2005.

Faldo has written several golf instructional books.

Along with the Marriott hotel chain, Faldo established The Faldo Golf Institute in 1997. This is a golf instructional program designed to help golfers of every level improve their skills and enjoyment of golf. The Institute has five locations: Orlando, Florida; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Palm Desert, California; Marco Island, Florida; and Hertfordshire, UK.

He was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1989, was awarded the MBE in 1998, and a knighthood in 2009, becoming Sir Nicholas Faldo.

Faldo was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2000, Faldo was ranked as the 18th greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine.[7]

In 2007, Mercedes-Benz tapped Faldo to act as brand ambassador, to promote the revival of the Maybach brand of ultra-luxury automobiles.[8]

Personal life

He met his first wife, Melanie Rockall, when he was 21. They married in 1979, but five years later they parted when she discovered he was having an affair with his manager's secretary, Gill Bennett. His divorce from Rockall came before his championship successes, and her settlement was relatively small.

He married Bennett in 1986, and the couple had three children: Natalie, Matthew and Georgia. They split up in 1995 after Faldo began a relationship with 20-year-old American golfing student Brenna Cepelak.

Their three-year affair ended when he met Valerie Bercher. The spurned Miss Cepelak famously battered Faldo's Porsche 959 with a golf club, causing £10,000 damage. Faldo's relationship with Bercher, a Swiss PR agent, began in 1998 when they met at the European Masters golf tournament. At the time, Valerie was working for marketing company IMG. She left her fiance Olivier Delaloye and married Faldo in July 2001 (the same day as his ex-caddie Fanny Sunesson got married, in a different location) in a lavish ceremony at his Windsor home, and they have a daughter Emma Scarlet (born 2003). It was announced in May 2006 that Faldo had filed for divorce.[9]

Golf World famously summed up the true mark of genius when they profiled the careers of Faldo and his arch rival for many years Greg Norman: "Norman has played and won more events: 87-43; however, Faldo has won more US and European tour titles: 36-34. Norman has won more money; Faldo has won more majors: 6-2. Norman has won more friends, Faldo more admirers."

He was knighted in the 2009 Birthday Honours for services to golf.[10][11]

Professional wins (40)

PGA Tour wins (9)

Major Championships (6)
Other PGA Tour (3)
No. Date Tournament Winning Score Margin of Victory Runner(s)-up
1 22 Apr 1984 Sea Pines Heritage -18 (66-67-68-69=270) 1 stroke United States Tom Kite
2 19 Jul 1987 The Open Championship -9 (69-68-71-71=279) 1 stroke United States Paul Azinger, Australia Rodger Davis
3 9 Apr 1989 The Masters -5 (68-73-77-65=283) Playoff United States Scott Hoch
4 8 Apr 1990 The Masters -10 (71=72-66-69=278) Playoff United States Raymond Floyd
5 22 Jul 1990 The Open Championship -14 (65-67-65-71=270) 5 strokes Zimbabwe Mark McNulty, United States Payne Stewart
6 19 Jul 1992 The Open Championship -8 (66-64-69-73=272) 1 stroke United States John Cook
7 5 Mar 1995 Doral-Ryder Open -15 (67-71-66-69=273) 1 stroke United States Peter Jacobsen, Australia Greg Norman
8 14 Apr 1996 The Masters -12 (69-67-73-67=276) 5 strokes Australia Greg Norman
9 2 Mar 1997 Nissan Open -12 (66-70-68-68=272) 3 strokes United States Craig Stadler

European Tour wins (30)

Major Championships (6)
Other European Tour (24)
No. Date Tournament Winning Score Margin of
1 17 Aug 1977 Skol Lager Individual -5 (68-71=139) Playoff Wales Craig Defoy, England Chris Witcher
2 29 May 1978 Colgate PGA Championship -10 (71-68-70-69=278) 7 strokes ScotlandKen Brown
3 26 May 1980 Sun Alliance PGA Championship +3 (73-70-71-69=283) 1 stroke Scotland Ken Brown
4 25 May 1981 Sun Alliance PGA Championship -10 (68-70-67-79=274) 4 strokes Scotland Ken Brown, England Neil Coles
5 19 Sep 1982 Haig Whisky TPC -18 (69-67-65-69=270) 3 strokes Spain Manuel Calero
6 8 May 1983 Paco Rabanne Open de France -11 (69-67-72-69=277) Playoff Spain José Maria Cañizares, England David J Russell,
Spain Seve Ballesteros
7 15 May 1983 Martini International -12 (67-69-66-66=268) Playoff Spain José Maria Cañizares
8 22 May 1983 Car Care Plan International -8 (67-68-68-69=272) 1 stroke England Howard Clark, England Brian Waites
9 24 Jul 1983 Lawrence Batley International -18 (71-69-64-62=266) 4 strokes England Warren Humphreys, England Brian Waites,
England Paul Way
10 11 Sep 1983 Ebel Swiss Open-European Masters -20 (70-64-68-66=268) Playoff Scotland Sandy Lyle
11 13 May 1984 Car Care Plan International -12 (69-70-66-71=276) 1 stroke England Howard Clark
12 17 May 1987 Peugeot Spanish Open -2 (72-71-71-72=286) 2 strokes South Africa Hugh Baiocchi, Spain Seve Ballesteros
13 19 Jul 1987 The Open Championship -5 (68-69-71-71=279) 1 stroke United States Paul Azinger, Australia Rodger Davis
14 26 Jun 1988 Peugeot Open de France -6 (71-67-68-68=274) 2 strokes England Denis Durnian, Australia Wayne Riley
15 30 Oct 1988 Volvo Masters -4 (74-71-71-68=284) 2 strokes Spain Seve Ballesteros
16 9 Apr 1989 The Masters -5 (68-73-77-65=283) Playoff United States Scott Hoch
17 30 May 1989 Volvo PGA Championship -16 (67-69-69-67=272) 2 strokes Wales Ian Woosnam
18 4 Jun 1989 Dunhill British Masters -21 (71-65-65-66=267) 4 strokes Northern Ireland Ronan Rafferty
19 2 Jul 1989 Peugeot Open de France -7 (70-70-64-69=273) 1 stroke South Africa Hugh Baiocchi, West Germany Bernhard Langer,
England Mark Roe
20 8 Apr 1990 The Masters -10 (71-72-66-69=278) Playoff United States Raymond Floyd
21 22 Jul 1990 The Open Championship -18 (67-65-67-71=270) 5 strokes Zimbabwe Mark McNulty, United States Payne Stewart
22 23 Jun 1991 Carroll's Irish Open -5 (68-75-70-70=283) 3 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie
23 7 Jun 1992 Carroll's Irish Open -14 (66-65-68-75=274) Playoff South Africa Wayne Westner
24 19 Jul 1992 The Open Championship -12 (66-64-69-73=272) 1 stroke United States John Cook
25 2 Aug 1992 Scandinavian Masters -11 (70-72-66-69=277) 3 strokes Australia Robert Allenby, England Peter Baker,
Canada Danny Mijovic, New Zealand Frank Nobilo,
Spain José María Olazábal, Australia Peter O'Malley
26 13 Sep 1992 GA European Open -18 (67-66-64-65=262) 3 strokes Sweden Robert Karlsson
27 7 Feb 1993 Johnnie Walker Classic -11 (67-68-66-68=169) 1 stroke Scotland Colin Montgomerie
28 4 Jul 1993 Carroll's Irish Open -12 (72-67-72-65=276) Playoff Spain José María Olazábal
29 5 Jun 1994 Alfred Dunhill Open -5 (67-74-67-71=279) Playoff Sweden Joakim Haeggman
30 14 Apr 1996 The Masters -12 (69-67-73-67=276) 5 strokes Australia Greg Norman

Other wins (7)

Major championships

Wins (6)

Year Championship 54 Holes Winning Score Margin Runner(s)-up
1987 The Open Championship 1 shot deficit -5 (68-69-71-71=279) 1 stroke United States Paul Azinger, Australia Rodger Davis
1989 The Masters 5 shot deficit -5 (68-73-77-65=283) Playoff 1 United States Scott Hoch
1990 The Masters (2) 3 shot deficit -10 (71-72-66-69=278) Playoff 2 United States Raymond Floyd
1990 The Open Championship (2) 5 shot lead -18 (67-65-67-71=270) 5 strokes Zimbabwe Mark McNulty, United States Payne Stewart
1992 The Open Championship (3) 4 shot lead -12 (66-64-69-73=272) 1 stroke United States John Cook
1996 The Masters (3) 6 shot deficit -12 (69-67-73-67=276) 5 strokes Australia Greg Norman

1 Defeated Scott Hoch in sudden death playoff - Faldo (5-3=8), Hoch (5-4=9)
2 Defeated Raymond Floyd in sudden death playoff - Faldo (4-4=8), Floyd (4-5=9)

Results timeline

Tournament 1976 1977 1978 1979
The Masters DNP DNP DNP 40
The Open Championship T28 T62 T7 T19
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The Masters DNP DNP DNP T20 T15 T25 DNP DNP T30 1
The Open Championship T12 T11 T4 T8 T6 T53 5 1 3 T11
PGA Championship DNP DNP T14 CUT T20 T54 CUT T28 T4 T9
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Masters 1 T12 T13 T39 32 T24 1 CUT CUT CUT
U.S. Open T3 T16 T4 T72 CUT T45 T16 T48 CUT CUT
The Open Championship 1 T17 1 2 T8 T40 4 T51 T44 CUT
PGA Championship T19 T16 T2 3 T4 T31 T65 CUT T54 T41
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
The Masters T28 CUT T14 T33 CUT WD CUT DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship T41 CUT T59 T8 CUT T11 CUT CUT DNP CUT
PGA Championship T51 T51 T60 DNP T49 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

DNP = did not play
WD = withdrew
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Team appearances

  • Ryder Cup (representing GB & Ireland / Europe): 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985 (winners), 1987 (winners), 1989 (tied match and retained trophy), 1991, 1993, 1995 (winners), 1997 (winners), 2008 (non-playing captain)
  • Alfred Dunhill Cup (representing England): 1985, 1986, 1987 (winners), 1988, 1991, 1993
  • World Cup (representing England): 1977, 1991, 1998 (winners)
  • UBS Cup: 2001, 2002, 2003
  • Double Diamond: 1977
  • Four Tours World Championship: 1986, 1987, 1990
  • Hennessy Cognac Cup: 1978 (winners), 1980 (winners), 1982 (winners), 1984 (winners)
  • Royal Trophy (representing Europe): 2006 (winners)
  • Seve Trophy: 2007 (non-playing captain - winners)

See also


External links

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