Nick Faldo : biography
Faldo went into the final round at the 1996 Masters trailing Greg Norman by six shots, but was the beneficiary of an infamous Sunday collapse at Augusta 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 where Norman collapsed in the final round, 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 friends and fishing partners, a passion they both share.
After Faldo’s victory at the 1996 Masters, he had just one further tournament win in his career at the 1997 Nissan Open in Los Angeles, at the age of 39. 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.
At the 2002 U.S. Open, a month before his 45th birthday, Faldo finished in a very creditable position of tied for 5th place. At the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St George’s, Faldo shot a fine third round of 67 and was briefly in contention for the tournament during the final round. He closed to within two shots of the lead after a birdie at the 5th hole in the final round before holing a 30-foot eagle putt on the 7th. However, his momentum stalled over the next three holes. A birdie at the 14th hole took him to level par and into fourth place. However, three successive bogeys on his subsequent three holes ended his challenge and he finished the tournament in a tie for eighth place. To date, Faldo has not had a top-10 finish in a major since this event. After 2005, Faldo’s appearances in professional tournaments became increasingly sporadic. In 2006, apart from appearances in the Masters and at the Open Championship, Faldo played in only two other events on the European Tour that year. In the first half of 2007, Faldo did not appear in any regular tour events. He did play in the 2007 Open at Carnoustie, missing the cut. In his first Champions Tour event, he finished tied for 14th in the Senior British Open.
Faldo did not take part in the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale. It was the first time he had not taken part in the competition since failing to qualify as an amateur in 1975. He entered in 2009 at Turnberry and 2010 at St Andrews, but missed the 36-hole cut at both. Faldo opted not to take part in the 2011 Open at Royal St George’s. He also decided not to compete in the 2012 Open, instead joining the BBC Sport commentary team for the event. In May 2013 Faldo confirmed that he would play at the 2013 Open at Muirfield.
As of January 2013, Faldo’s career European Tour earnings are just over €8 million, and his U.S. PGA Tour earnings are over $5 million.
Achievements and legacy
Faldo has won more major golf championships than any player from the continent of Europe since World War I. Only one European golfer, Harry Vardon, who won seven majors in a span between 1896–1914, has had more major victories than Faldo. Other than Vardon, only one golfer from outside the United States (Gary Player from South Africa) has won more majors than Faldo.
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. While his 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.