Nick Faldo

43

Nick Faldo : biography

18 July 1957 –

Faldo won two consecutive Masters Tournament’s in 1989 and 1990, becoming the first player to win back-to-back Masters titles since Jack Nicklaus in 1965-66. At the 1989 Masters, Faldo shot a final round of 65, the low round of the tournament, to get into a playoff with Scott Hoch. Faldo won the playoff after holing a somewhat lengthy putt on the 2nd playoff hole (Hoch had missed a 2-foot putt to win on the first playoff hole). At the 1990 Masters, Faldo 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.

In the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah Country Club, Faldo finished tied for 3rd place. He had a lipped-out putt on the 72nd hole which resulted in him missing out by one stroke on an 18-hole playoff with Hale Irwin and Mike Donald. The following month, Faldo won his second Open Championship in 1990 at St Andrews, Scotland, by five shots, becoming the first golfer since Tom Watson in 1982 to win two majors in the same year.

Faldo won the famous Claret Jug trophy for a third time in the 1992 Open Championship at Muirfield. Faldo’s first two rounds of 66-64 for a 36-hole total of 130 broke the Open Championship record for the lowest first 36 holes (a record later tied by Brandt Snedeker in 2012). Faldo had a 54-hole lead of four shots in the 1992 Open, before losing the lead during the back-nine of the final round to American John Cook. Faldo recovered with birdies on two of the last four holes to win by a stroke over Cook, who bogeyed the 72nd hole.

Perceived by some golf fans to be an aloof stoic character in the mould of Ben Hogan, Faldo displayed visible emotion after his Open-winning putt on the final hole at Muirfield in 1992, trembling and shedding tears. Faldo later said: "I thought I’d blown it. If I had lost, I would have needed a very large plaster to patch that one up."

In the early 1990s, Faldo was considered the best golfer in the world. He 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 to 1988).

Faldo spent a total of 98 weeks altogether at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking, 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.", ed. Jim Apfelbaum. 2007. That year, he had worldwide earnings of £1,558,978, breaking the existing record.

In July 1993, Faldo won the Carroll’s Irish Open for an unprecedented third time in a row. Starting his final round four shots behind José María Olazábal, Faldo’s fourth round of 65 enabled him to tie over 72 holes with Olazábal. Faldo won the sudden death playoff at the first extra hole. Later that month, as defending Open champion, Faldo was involved in a memorable duel with rival Greg Norman in the Open Championship at Royal St George’s Golf Club. Starting his final round one shot ahead of Norman, Faldo hit a tee shot on the par-3 11th which appeared to be heading for a hole in one, but the ball hit the cup and rolled away. Faldo played some excellent golf in his final round of 67, but he finished runner-up, two strokes behind Norman, who shot a spectacular final round of 64.

Throughout the early 1990s, Faldo 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 U.S. 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 Augusta in April 1996 to collect his sixth and final major championship.