Sir Nick Faldo was a six-time major champion as a player, winning the Masters and Open Championship three times apiece. He completely overhauled his swing to take his game to another level. That was before Tiger Woods made it seem cool. Faldo had the stones to do it before anyone else and still delivered. In fact, he slipped the green jacket on Tiger during that revolutionary, 12-stroke victory at Augusta in 1997. The man is a legend.
And even AFTER that impressive legacy on the course, Faldo managed to hold his own in the booth at CBS alongside Jim Nantz beginning in 2006. I love the story here of him being on a boat in Ireland and literally falling out of the boat when he was first offered the gig after gaining some experience at ABC Sports.
With a similarly meticulous approach and competitive fire he took to every tournament during his playing prime, Faldo transformed himself into an essential figure in golf media. Sir Nick wasn't the most, um, charismatic guy when he was scorching fools across the globe and winning 43 times as a professional, but he opened up his personality quite a bit in the broadcasting chair. He injected a solid dose of humor and inside-the-ropes insight to CBS telecasts, and his interplay/chemistry with Nantz was truly special.
Even before Faldo signed off in earnest on Sunday at the Wyndham Championship, this moment was great, too, as CBS underestimated the amount of tissues that'd be required for four grown-ass men. I love it. Let those feelings fly, fellas!! We too often hold them in!
What I'll miss most, though, is the one-of-one word salads only Faldo could string together when breaking down any part of the golf swing or anything technique-based. He'd make the craziest analogies, hammer on the most seemingly trivial details and go on these borderline unhinged soliloquies where nobody else really knew what he was talking about at a certain point. Yet it was still so captivating and entertaining that it'd make me laugh out loud. And it's not like I can argue with the results he produced himself, so there must've been some real authenticity to what he was saying. I was just in the weeds after a while.
I'm having the darnedest time trying to track down a Greatest Hits of Faldo's best calls. You can see some of them in the initial tweet I plugged. I'm sure someone's working tirelessly to put that together now. Aaaand light bulb moment...
The 2014 WGC Match Play duel between a victorious Jason Day and a GOATed-scrambling Victor Dubuisson stands out. Not sure what happened to Dubuisson in the ensuing years but the man's hands were utter magic. I realize it's obnoxious to string three videos together, but if you've forgotten about this superbly underrated slice of golf history, please do yourself a favor and watch the greatest sequence of three straight up-and-downs ever...
Another highlight that comes to mind is Faldo's mistaken "necking" call of Rory McIlroy's insane 3-wood that set up an eagle on his way to a 2014 PGA Championship triumph:
I also discovered Faldo, the 2008 Ryder Cup captain, once called Sergio Garcia "worthless" and said he had a bad attitude during the 2014 telecast of the USA vs. Europe showdown.
There were clearly hard feelings between Sergio and Sir Nick after the Americans blew out Team Europe in 2008. Sergio infamously got walloped to open Sunday Singles 5&4 by Anthony "What If…?" Kim.
No need to dwell on that captaincy lowlight, though. I'm glad Faldo took the time to stick it to Sergio.
Here's to you, Sir Nick, and may you have a happy retirement. Your replacement Trevor Immelman has a lot to live up to. Also, I find it glorious that Faldo has done this well in his post-playing career, whereas Greg Norman, the man who blew a six-shot, 54-hole lead in the 1996 Masters that Faldo won, is busy spearheading LIV Golf.
A couple Faldo-related things to check out, too: The final-round telecast of Tiger's unforgettable 2019 Masters (link to the fateful par-3 12th where the tournament changed), and the subsequent interview in Butler Cabin.
Twitter @MattFitz_gerald…Sir Nick is The Man, but I'm still waiting for Victor Dubuisson and Anthony Kim comeback SZNs